Mary Fairchild Low studied art at the St. Louis School of Fine Art and at Acadamie Julian in Paris. She married in 1888 and resided in Paris, spending summers in Giverny. She later divorced her first husband and married painter Will Low in 1909. Her portraiture received acclaim at the 1893 Chicago Exposition.
Low's work reflects several phases of development. In the beginning she worked in a sunlit style reminiscent of her professor at Acadamie Julian. Later, however, her work became more tonal and misty. Low painted her portraits in very dark colors after her second marriage but gradually returned to a lighter, Impressionistic palette in the final phase of her career.