Jeanne Birdsall received her only formal training at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland in 1972. After graduating from college, she was trying to achieve the painterly look she had seen in reproductions of the work of the Pictorialists, especially Edward Steichen and Clarence White. In the eighties, Jeanne was exposed to gum bichromate process and fell in love with its expressive nature.
Jeanne Birdsall's photographic portraits, landscapes and floral still lives are romantic reminders of an earlier time when photography imitated painting. By use of the gum bichromate process, a melding of photography and watercolor, she produces soft, delicate images. Birdsall’s prints recall the nostalgic mood of early pictorialism when photography self-consciously imitated painting.
“The portraits are often overtly ambiguous, using role-playing and innuendo to counter the notion of an innocent past. Their understated theatricality has a sharp emotional edge that contradicts the softness of the images themselves. Because the colors are added as the prints evolve, they can be used in an almost expressionistic way, not to imitate nature but to further the artist’s subjective intent.” (Helen A. Harrison, Art Review, The New York Times)
Jeanne Birdsall's work has been featured in numerous publications and is in the permanent collection of The Smithsonian Institute, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and many other public and private collections.
R. Michelson Galleries would like to congratulate Jeanne Birdsall on her numerous awards, including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, for her book The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy.