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Confidential Evaluation of Your Byron Browne

Byron Browne

Still Life of Flowers in a Jug , 1956

Byron Browne (1907 – 1961)

Born in Yonkers, New York, Byron Browne was a central figure in many of the modernist artistic and political groups that flourished during the 1930s in New York City. He was an early member of the Artists’ Union, a founding member in 1936 of the American Abstract Artists, and a participant in the Artists’ Congress until 1940, when political infighting prompted Browne and others to form the breakaway Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors.

Browne’s artistic training followed traditional lines. From 1925 to 1928, he studied at the National Academy of Design, where in his last year he won the prestigious Third Hallgarten Prize for a still-life composition. Yet before finishing his studies, Browne discovered the newly established Gallery of Living Art. There and through his friends John Graham and Arshile Gorky, he became fascinated with Picasso, Braque, Miro, and other modern masters.

Although Browne destroyed his early academic work shortly after leaving the National Academy, he remained steadfast in his commitment to the value of tradition, and especially to the work of Ingres. Browne believed, with his friend Gorky, that “Every artist has to have tradition. Without tradition art is no good. Having a tradition enables you to tackle new problems with authority, with solid footing.”

Increasingly in the 1940s, Browne adopted an energetic, gestural style. Painterly brush strokes and roughly textured surfaces amplify the primordial undercurrents posed by his symbolic and mythical themes. In 1945 Browne showed with Adolph Gottlieb, William Baziotes, David Hare, Hans Hofmann, Carl Holty, Romare Bearden, and Robert Motherwell at the newly opened Samuel Kootz Gallery. When Kootz suspended business for a year in 1948, Browne began showing at Grand Central Galleries. In 1950, he joined the faculty of the Art Students League, and in 1959 he began teaching advanced painting at New York University.

Source: Virginia M. Mecklenburg. “The Patricia and Phillip Frost Collection: American Abstraction, 1930-1945″ (Washington, DC: National Museum of American Art and Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989), pp. 44-47. Copyright 1989 Smithsonian Institution. All rights reserved.

Biography from the Archives of AskART

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SELECTED MUSEUM COLLECTIONS

Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AK
The Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Art Students League, New York, NY
Ball State University Art Gallery, Muncie, IN
Bell Gallery, List Art Center, Brown University, Providence, RI
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL
The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH
The Canton Art Institute, Canton, OH
The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA
College Art Gallery, SUNY, New Paltz, NY
Columbia Museum of Arts and Sciences, Columbia, SC
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Everson Museum of Art of Syracuse and Onondaga County, New York, NY
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Holbrook Collection, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Hudson River Museum of Westchester, Yonkers, NY
Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, IN
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University, CA
James A. And Mari Michener Collection, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University at New Brunswick, NJ
Joe and Emily Lowe Art Gallery, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Milwaukee Art Center, Milwaukee, WI
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL
Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute Museum of Art, Utica, NY
Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, PA
Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Isreal
Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro
Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FL
Nassau County Museum of Fine Art, Roslyn, NY
National Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Neuberger Museum, Purchase College, Purchase, NY
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ
The Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
Orange County Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA
Pace University Art Collection, New York, NY
Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix Art Musuem, Phoenix, AZ
Provincetown Art Association and Museum, MA
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM
Sao Paolo Museum of Modern Art, Brazil (gift of Nelson Rockefeller)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, NY
Trisolini Gallery, Ohio University, Athens, OH
University Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, IA
Walker Art Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina, Greensborough, NC
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown