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    JOHN GEORGE BROWN (American, 1831-1913)
    Waiting for a Bite, Central Park, circa 1886
    Oil on canvas
    12 x 16 inches (30.5 x 40.6 cm)
    Signed lower right: J.G. Brown

    Alexander Gallery, New York City;
    Roughton Galleries, Dallas, Texas;
    Mr. & Mrs. Floyd Sherman.

    John George Brown's sentimentalized portrayals of street urchins, reproduced and published by the thousands, made him the richest and most celebrated genre painter in turn-of-the-century America. Emigrating from England to New York in 1853, Brown trained as a glassblower in Brooklyn before studying fine art at the National Academy of Design. His 1860 painting His First Cigar launched his national reputation as the "Bootblack Raphael," and lithographers quickly began copying his images of young white shoe shiners, vendors, and servants. Although Brown claimed to paint truthfully, like a reporter, he in fact falsified the grim reality of urban immigrant life and, catering to Victorian tastes, showed his subjects not as sad, emaciated, and hungry, but as cheerful, spunky, and resourceful; their ragged clothing was meant to be picturesque, their grime, cosmetic. Brown's paintings of street children were so desirable that toward the end of his career, his yearly income averaged $40,000. Original works sold for $500 to $700, while royalties from just one lithograph totaled $25,000.

    Brown was equally adept at rendering rural pastimes, pictures he painted for pleasure, and which possess a straightforward and distinguished quality over the commercial look of his shoeshine subjects. Much like his contemporaries Winslow Homer and Eastman Johnson, Brown romanticized country life, showing pigtailed girls in gingham dresses and boys in dungarees and straw hats waiting for the train, picking berries, pouring water at the well, or swinging on farm gates. Waiting for a Bite, with its pensive, lone figure, captures the tranquility of fishing and recalls Brown's paintings of daydreaming teenagers. It also references the British Pre-Raphaelite Movement, where artists utilized symbolism and minute detail to comment on man's relationship with nature, which had influenced Brown. The underlying message in Waiting for a Bite is that every man - or boy - is waiting for something, to be found only by casting a line into the pool of life.

    Brown's paintings are featured in numerous prominent institutions, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

    More information about JOHN GEORGE BROWN, also known as Brown, John George, John George Brown.

    Condition Report*: Wax re-lined and re-varnished canvas with completely stable paint film; under UV examination, a 3/4" diagonal line of in-painting in shoreline to the left of boy's hat, 1 tiny dot of in-painting next to his mouth, and minor stippled in-painting in water of lower left corner, possibly to address light abrasion. Framed Dimensions 21.5 X 25.5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    15th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,608

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    Dallas, TX
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