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    Description

    DON BROWN (1898-1958)
    Swamp Girl, 1953
    Oil on canvas
    32in. x 24in.
    Signed and dated lower right

    Don Brown moved to New York around 1920 to study at the Art Students League. Very likely the first Texas artist to be exposed to the then budding American Art movement later know as Regionalism, Brown studied with Boardman Robinson, Thomas Hart Benton, Kenneth Hays Miller and John Sloan. In 1923 he moved to Paris to study with Andre L'hote. While in Paris he also studied at the Ecole de Musee du Louvre and the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. Later in Paris as an American newspaper correspondent, he became a champion of the Regionalist movement writing articles about Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and Ernest Hemmingway. Returning to Texas before 1930, Brown became one of the leading proponents of Regionalism in the Southwest, and was possibly the first Texas artist to embrace the new style.

    Don Brown considered this painting one of his most important portraits. It was published on the cover of Southwest Review. It was also exhibited at the 15th Texas Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition (label attached verso), and the Don Brown Retrospective Exhibition at Centenary College after his death.

    The sitter was a young black woman janitor at Centenary College where Brown was head of the art department. To properly understand the importance of this painting, one must place it in the proper cultural context. Negro portraits were a shocking and scandalous subject for any white Texas painter. In a society and time where racism was the norm, the sympathetic depiction of African-American subjects was shocking to the ordinary Texan, even more so to the East Texas audience of Don Brown's hometown of Marshall, Texas where the Ku Klux Klan maintained a strong power base. The classical pose of the sitter is the same pose Leonardo da Vinci used in the Mona Lisa. There is no attempt to Anglicize the sitter's features to a white aesthetic, but instead Don Brown embraces the African American figure and facial features.

    Don Brown remained friends with Thomas Hart Benton throughout his life. This painting presents a wonderful opportunity to own an important Texas Regionalist and Social Realist painting.

    Provenance: Estate of Don Brown
    Linda Petty (niece of Don Brown)

    Exhibited: 15th Annual Texas Painting & Sculpture Exhibition
    Don Brown Retrospective Exhibition at Centenary College



    Condition Report*: Excellent condition on original unlined canvas. No resorations evident. Two small 1" scratches. Original artist-made period frame in excellent condition.
    *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. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2006
    10th Saturday
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