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Byron Browne Portrait

Byron Browne Portrait

Byron Browne

Also Known as: George Byron Browne

Born:
Yonkers, New York 1907

Died:
New York, New York 1961

Photo Caption:
Byron Browne, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0001290

Photo Caption:
Courtesy Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Luce Artist Quote

“Art is not a decorative item to hang over the mantle, but a portrayal of an idea, a reflection of one’s times, an object of thought, philosophy and conjecture.” Browne, 1946, quoted in Rand, Byron Browne: Paintings & Drawings from the 30’s, 40’s, & 50’s, 1987


Biography

Modernist painter and one of the founders of American Abstract Artists, a New York City organization devoted to exhibiting abstract art. Browne specialized in still life in the style of Synthetic Cubism, influenced by his friends John Graham, Arshile Gorky, and Willem de Kooning.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

Byron Browne worked at a lumberyard to pay his tuition at the National Academy of Design, where he enrolled in 1925. He was inspired by European artists such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró and in 1930 burned several of his realistic works as a gesture against conventional painting. He was a founder of the American Abstract Artists and in 1935 led a march protesting museums that did not collect modern work. After World War II, Browne exhibited frequently at the Kootz Gallery, which ardently supported avant-garde American artists. While abstract expressionism dominated New York’s art world, Browne’s paintings, which still showed recognizable figures and objects, failed to draw an audience. The gallery sold all of Browne’s work in a department store sale at “50% off,” dealing a heavy blow to the artist’s career. (Rogers, Byron Browne, A Seminal American Modernist, 2001)