Thomas French Fine Art
Thomas French Fine Art maintains a large inventory of paintings by Cleveland artist Emma Lane Payne.
Emma was the daughter of William F. Lane and Jane Horsfield from Manchester, England. She was born in October of 1855 in Canada, but spent most of her life in Euclid, Ohio. Little is known about her life in Canada and why she moved to Cleveland. Perhaps the education opportunities offered by the western Reserve School of Design for Women attracted her or it might have been the suffragist vision of the school’s founder. It is certain, however, that with painting Emma found her passion.
Upon arriving in Cleveland, Emma occupied a studio in the downtown Rose Building and painted portraits. During this time perhaps she also received training in the drafting room of her architect brother, Samuel W. Lane. Later, she attended the Western Reserve School of Design for Women in Cleveland, which became the Cleveland School of Art. Emma also shared a studio in Cleveland City Hall in the 1890s with fellow Cleveland artists Arabella Copeland and Elizabeth B. Black, where she developed and interest in watercolors and illustrations. At the Cleveland School of Art she studied watercolor under prominent artist Frederick Carl Gottwald starting in 1897, and at some point, studied under New York artist Leonard Ochtman. She seems to have been a lifelong student of painting and took classes at the Cleveland School of Art in 1907 and 1908 and studied at the Cleveland Art Club for many years. A lifelong learner, self-taught historian and supporter of the early women’s rights movement, Emma Lane Payne remained independent throughout her life. At a time when women had their first opportunities to participate in higher education, painting was a vehicle through which many women, including Payne, expressed their voices.
Payne was well known in the local art scene, exhibiting her work at the Cleveland Watercolor Society, the Cleveland Art Club, and Women’s Art Club of Cleveland of which she was a charter member. A 1925 review from the Cleveland Plain Dealer of one Women’s Art Club exhibition praised Payne’s Sprint Afternoon as “pink with blossoms,” and a Brecksville landscape with water tumbling over the rocks as being “vivid transcripts of nature.” Later she also participated in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s 1920, 1921 and 1935 May Shows, the last of which earned her an Honorable Mention in the category of Oil Painting of Industrial Cleveland with a work entitled Brickyards. She also exhibited at the Great Lakes Exposition with paintings of Cleveland’s old Haymarket district. Payne participated in other exhibitions around Ohio, as well as in the New York region, throughout her career. Over the years, landscapes became her favorite subject matter. She painted numerous views of Cleveland’s industrial sites as well as picturesque scenes of bucolic Northeastern Ohio. On these works of art Emma signed her work as Leone Lane, Emma Lane, and after her marriage as Emma Lane Payne.
Emma married fellow artist Harvey E. Payne in 1912. He was approximately 15 years her junior. Perhaps the rather unorthodox nature of their union caused Payne to misrepresent her age on the marriage license, as well as on multiple census records. Harvey and Emma’s marriage license lists them both at age 42, when Emma’s actual age would have been 55. Harvey left her a widow in 1931, but Emma seemed content to live out the rest of her years in her small bungalow on Euclid Avenue, painting landscapes outdoors and portraits of her beloved pets at home. To the end, Emma Lane Payne herself proclaimed that painting remained her most loyal companion. “No, I don’t know what it means to be lonesome. There is so much to do that I don’t have time-,” Emma Lane Payne once said to a reporter about her life. Payne died in January of 1943 in Euclid, Ohio.
-Hansgen, Lauren, 2007, Emma Lane Payne (1857-1943): I Don’t Have Time to be Lonesome When I’m Painting, 22 June – 18 August 2007, Cleveland Artists Foundation, Lakewood, OH.
-Daniel, Kevin, Re: Emma Lane Payne 1874-1935, Genelogy.com, May 19, 2007, http://www.genealogy.com/forum/regional/states/topics/oh/cuyahoga/1955/
For more information about Emma Lane Payne, visit the artist's page.