John George Brown

About the Artist

John George Brown was one of the most popular artists in America at the turn of the twentieth century. His empathetic, and highly skilled, portrayal of children on the streets of New York made him a successful artist, whose works have been exhibited and sought out by collectors for more than a century.

Early Life and Education
John George Brown was born in Bensham, a small town in northern England, in 1831. His family was very poor and, at the age of fourteen, Brown began a seven-year apprenticeship as a glass-cutter in Newcastle-on-Tyne.
Brown showed considerable talent and skill as an artist at a very young age. When he was eighteen, and still working as an apprentice, he enrolled in classes at the Government School of Design, where he studied with Scottish artist William Bell Scott. He spent a year in Edinburgh, working at the Holyrood Glass Works in Edinburg and studying evenings at the Trustees Academy with Robert Scott Lauder. During the summer of 1853, Brown went to London to study at the Royal Academy. While in London, Brown painted portraits and used his earnings to board a ship to America.

Brown settled in Brooklyn, where he got a job as a glass cutter at the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company. In 1855 he married Mary Ann Owen, daughter of the manager of the Glass Company. Brown worked at the Glass Company, painted portraits and studied at the National Academy of Design. With the help of his father-in-law, he was able to move his family to Manhattan and open a portrait studio. His work was exhibited and did well, but it was when he began to paint portraits of street children that his work gained so much popularity that by the mid-1860s he not only became a U.S. citizen, but a rich and famous U.S. citizen. Brown died in New York in 1913.

Brown was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design and served as vice president from 1899-1903.
His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Met, the National Academy Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Peabody Institute, the Smithsonian and other fine venues.

John George Brown Self Portrait 1908            


John George Brown On The Hudson 1867

John George Brown The Transit of Venus 1883

2016-10-11T12:48:23-04:00 July 5th, 2016|

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