Anne Estelle Rice, the American fauvist painter was born in Conshohocken, near Philadelphia in 1877. In 1894 Rice enrolled in the School of Industrial Art of the Pennsylvanian Museum (now known as the Philadelphia Museum of Art). She was awarded a Diploma in decorative painting and applied design, which contributed to her later works including; illustrating fashion, developing historical murals for the Wannamaker store, Philadelphia, and designing costumes and sets for theatre. Rice continued her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
She travelled to Europe in 1905 and it was in Paris where she was greatly influenced by the Fauve movement, namely by the artists Andre Derain and John Fergusson. In 1907 she went to the Northeast coast of France and struck up acquaintances with two Scottish painters, Samuel John Peploe (1871-1935) and John Duncan Fergusson (1874–1961). This was an important stage in her life as Fergusson convinced Rice to turn to painting, acting initially as her mentor in this new concentration.
Estelle Rice development’s as a Modernist was due to her experiences at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. In 1908, she had her debut and continued to exhibit through to 1913. She was elected one of its Societaires in 1910, and two years later, was chosen to serve on its jury. Her individual style and vibrant palette was summed up by the British critic Holbrook Jackson in 1911 “She has the decorative sense, and although she paints frame pictures, you feel she ought to be covering the walls of palaces or temples with joyous colour and singing design”.
Rice’s work was exhibited at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1914, the Society of Independent Artists, New York, 1917, the Allied Artists Association Salon, London Group shows in 1924 and 1926, the Burlington Gallery, 1918, the Manchester City Art Gallery, the Goupil Gallery, 1924, the Lefevre Galleries, the Pittsburgh Carnegie Institute, 1925, the Mayor Gallery in 1926.