Anne Estelle Rice was born to Irish-American parents in Conchohocken, Philadelphia in 1877 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in her home city and worked for a time as an illustrator for the North American and Saturday Evening Post, but it was during her time in France in the early part of the twentieth century that her distinctive style developed. Rice first visited France in 1905 and it was during the period that followed that she met John Duncan Fergusson who was delighted by her beauty, intellect and talent. She became a member of the Societaire de Salon d'Automne a year later, around the time that she held her first solo exhibition in London, at the Baillie Gallery.
Kirsten Simister points out 'Rice's vivacious personality provided a good match for Fergusson. She shared his curiosity and love of adventure, breaking with social convention in order to accompany him to venues that were considered unacceptable to women'. In 1908 she received a commission from Wanamaker's Department Store in Philadelphia. By 1911 Rice had become a regular and significant contributor to Fergusson's journal Rhythm and they became extremely important to one another, both romantically and professionally. Although their relationship did not last long and despite spending much of her time in London rather than Paris, the influence of Fergusson remained strong in her work.