About the Jessen Collection

Rita Jessen, Artist (1923-2015)

Rita (Haukeland) Jessen, was born in Los Angeles in 1923.  Her parents had immigrated from Stockholm, Sweden to work for the founding Director of the New York Philharmonic.  They then moved on to LA in 1920.  Rita grew up in Encino and went to Van Nuys High School alongside Hollywood icons Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe.  In 1941 she married Jack Jessen and settled on the backlot of 20th Century Fox Studios, now Century City.  Her early career was Regional Sales Director for Fortune Magazine.  In 1962, Rita began serious art lessons with Walter Kell and later would study with Lillian Drilling Ashton Brooks.  Her painting career spanned from 1962 to 1998 producing many wonderful canvases full of life, color and abstraction.  She was represented in many Southern California regional galleries and libraries, as well as the Long Beach Museum of Art.  Her paintings are held in private collections from Laguna Beach, New York all the way to England.   

The Jessen Collection features works by Rita Jessen spanning her career from the 1960's to 1990's. The collection tells the story of her life and travels during this time period. Many of the paintings have never been shown before. Also featured are pieces from Rita's personal art collection.