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Benjamin Chambers Brown

October 10, 2007 - January 6, 2008


The second in the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) California Colors series, this exhibition features a selection of vibrant Impressionist paintings by Benjamin Chambers Brown (1865-1942), a plein air painter who was one of the first artists to settle and paint in Pasadena. This will be a rare opportunity to view highlights of Brown's work from private and museum collections. A full-color exhibition catalog is planned, featuring new scholarship on the artist by Chief Curator of the Crocker Art Museum, Scott A. Shields, Ph.D and an introduction by Executive Director of the Irvine Museum, Jean Stern.


Wall text from the exhibition

Benjamin Chambers Brown (1865-1942) was a pioneer of Impressionism in California, especially Pasadena. A gifted painter, he was also a talented printmaker and photographer. After his studies in St. Louis and Paris, and a brief stint as a portraitist in Little Rock, Brown moved to Pasadena in 1896, where he remained for the rest of his life. In a close-knit community that counted such notable painters as Elmer and Marion K. Wachtel, Franz A. Bischoff, Alson S. Clark, and the formidable Guy Rose as "Pasadena artists," Brown was known as the "Dean of Pasadena Painters" and the "Patriarch of Pasadena." His bold, distinctive style never wavered, making his bright, Impressionist landscapes of California instantly recognizable.
Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by the Pasadena Arts League and the Historical Collections Council of California. Additional support has been provided by Ray Redfern of the Redfern Gallery, Bonhams and Butterfields, Edenhurst Gallery, George Stern, Josh Hardy, DeRu's Fine Arts, Whitney Ganz and Steve Stern.

Also on exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art starting October 10, 2007 are Beyond Ultraman: Seven Artists Explore the Vinyl Frontier and Jess: To and From the Printed page.


(above: Benjamin Chambers Brown (1865-1942), California Poppies, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. Collection of Allan and Susan Asselstine, Courtesy of Josh Hardy Galleries, LLC, )


(above: Benjamin Chambers Brown (1865-1942), Palisades Glacier, Big Pine Canyon, High Sierras, California, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art, gift of Howell C. Brown, brother of artist, in memory of Mrs. Fenyes, mother of Mrs. Thomas Curtain, 1946 )

Pending images:

Tallac Mountain, n.d.
Oil on canvas
40 x 50 inches
Private collection, Bel Air, California, courtesy of Jeffrey Morseburg
Laguna Vista, c. 1915
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches
Laguna Art Museum Collection, gift of Mrs. William Griffith
Santa Paula Canyon, n.d.
Oil on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Collection of W. Donald Head, Old Grandview


Editor's note:

Edan Milton Hughes says of the artist in Artists in California 1786 - 1940:

A painter, lithographer and etcher. Born in Marion, Arkansas on July 14, 1865. Early in life Brown was trained as a photographer and in his late teens studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts under Paul Harney and John Fry. He later studied in Paris at the Academie Julian under Laurens and Benjamin-Constant. During his early career he moved about and was active in St. Louis, Little Rock, and Texas. Earlier he specialized in portraiture and still lifes; however, upon moving to Pasadena in 1896, he turned his attention to the local landscape. His first etchings were done in 1914 and, with his brother Howell, he cofounded the Printmakers of Los Angeles which later became the California Society of Printmakers. Brown died in Pasadena on January 19, 1942. Today he is nationally known for his Impressionist landscapes of the snow-capped Sierra peaks and fields of poppies.

The California Art Club, established in 1909, says on its website that Brown was the 3rd California Art Club president from 1915 to 1916.

From October 15, 2006 to January 7, 2007.the Pasadena Museum of California Art exhibited California Colors: Hanson Puthuff, an intimate look at Hanson Puthuff (1875-1972), an American Impressionist who painted primarily in California. California Colors wss organized by the PMCA. The exhibition showcaed a selection of Puthuff's best work found in private Southern California collections, and was the inaugural show for a new monographic series at the PMCA focusing on different plein air artists.

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