Rae Ferren (née Tonkel) studied at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. She married abstract expressionist painter and light sculptor John Ferren in 1949 and the two soon became part of the emerging artists' community in New York City. There, the atmosphere among artists fostered friendships and creativity, deepening Ferren's art education. She permanently relocated to East Hampton, New York, after the death of her husband in 1970. For fifteen years, Ferren worked as the associate curator in the town's Guild Hall Museum before retiring to work on her art full time. She is best known for her vivid, abstract landscape paintings that show the influence of the French impressionists and postimpressionists, and American painters George Inness (1825–1894) and William Merritt Chase (1849–1916).