A colorful life brought painter Mary Louise Fairchild Low into interesting company, and helped her to enrich her work as an artist. Her paintings frequently depict nudes or figures in the outdoors. She was also known for her sunlit landscapes and her graceful portraits.
Born into an old New England family, she studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Art and then headed to the Academie Julian in Paris, where she studied under Carolus-Duran.
By 1888 she had married sculptor Frederick MacMonnies and the pair led a fascinating social life. They had a home in Paris and frequently entertained notable figures of the art world, including prominent painter James McNeil Whistler. They also spent the summer months in Giverny, where they were friends and neighbors of painter Claude Monet and dancer Isadora Duncan.
She exhibited frequently and had a strong reputation. She was a member of the National Academy of Design, the Society of American Artists and the National Arts Club, as well as a winner of awards and medals, including recognition at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.
Her husband left her for one of his students while living in Europe, and Fairchild then married painter Will Hickok Low. The two moved to New York from 1909 to 1932. She relocated to her home town of New Haven, Connecticut for the last years of her life.
It is noted that her palette altered after her divorce, from a sunny brightness almost to a Tonalist's subdued palette. Later however she began again to rely on her Impressionistic colors and her works were again lighter and less moody.
Her paintings are in the collections of the Sheldon Swope Art Museum in Indiana and the Union League Club of Chicago among others.