Jean Reasoner Plunket

This site is dedicated to the memory of Jean Reasoner Plunket (1923-2021) — the last surviving grandchild of Abbott Thayer — who helped carry Thayer’s legacy through her life and work.

Jean was an artist in her own right, a lifelong professional portraitist who specialized in pastel drawings of children and worked prolifically across multiple media and subject matter. She was trained by her father and other members of a close-knit artist colony in Woodstock, NY — many of whom were students of Abbott Thayer. She became a professional artist at 16, drawing portraits for 50 cents for visitors at Yosemite National Park in California. (For an additional 50 cents, she would include the Half Dome rock formation in the background.) She settled in Washington, DC, in 1943.

Her career spanned nine decades, through which she accepted some 12,000 portrait commissions from clients that included the business, entertainment, and political elite — including multiple generations of the Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson families. Jean was the primary breadwinner of her family, often completing two portraits a day. She was also a proud steward for the Abbott Thayer Family Collection and we, her loving children, are proud to take on this mantel in fulfillment of her last wish.