Jan D’Esopo was born in New York and raised in Connecticut. Her first awards in painting were won during exhibitions in the prestigious Wadsworth Athenaeum at the age of nine. In 1956, she graduated from Bennington College with majors in painting and sculpture. Further studies at Yale School of Art and Architecture advanced her keenness in portraiture, perspective and anatomy.
Lured by Caribbean brilliant color, exquisite light and D’Esopo family ties to the island, she moved to Puerto Rico in 1961. This was an adventurous encounter with a new culture, a warm people, and an overwhelming richness of subject matter. Soon her unique watercolor style became well known throughout the Carribbean and the US, as she became popular with collectors. By 1985 she was honored with a major retrospective at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. More than 90 paintings were gathered from prestigious collections around the world to mount the first traditional style watercolor painting show depicting Puerto Rico.
D’Esopo has founded two galleries in San Juan, one primarily to promote young artists. She taught watercolor for eight years at the Art Students League in San Juan. With her sister Teresa D’Esopo Spinner, well known portrait painter, she has organized a multitude of workshops with leading international artists at her San Juan Gallery. Numerous articles have been written about Jan, her Gallery/Inn and her works appearing in magazines and newspapers such as The New York Times, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Chicago Daily, and many more. This artist has also been the subject of feature articles in Colonial Homes, Country Inns, Travel & Leisure and The American Way Magazine, to mention only the most recent.
With her husband Manuco, she has mounted the only bronze foundry dedicated to figurative work in Puerto Rico. Her portrait and monumental bronzes may be viewed at the Puerto Rico Capital building, Plaza San Justo in Old San Juan and in public areas at schools, hospitals and corporations both here and in the US.