1831 (Portland, Maine)
1915 (London, England)
California/Maine / England
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landscape, marine, and portrait painter, survey artist
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Hudson River School Painters
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Harrison Bird Brown was born in 1831 in Portland, Maine, and is best
known for his White Mountain landscapes and marine paintings of Maine's
Casco Bay. By 1860, Brown was being praised as a leading American
marine painter. Known also as Harry B., Henry B., and some times
mistakenly as Henry Box Brown (Eason), he began an apprenticeship at
age 21 with house and ship painters Forbes and Wilson. He then became a
banner and sign painter, under the name "H. B. Brown, Banner &
Ornamental, Painter". |
Landscape painting was popular in the
mid 19th century, thanks in part to the influence of Charles Codman
(1800-1842), whose paintings were collected for their very romantic
sentiments. It is possible that Brown saw examples of Codman's
poetic paintings, and was influenced by his works.
one of the early artists to paint the coastline of Maine's Monhegan
Island, where he depicted the headlands as awesome, mystical forces.
Humanity versus nature, and the human relationship to nature, themes
prevalent in mid and late-19th century literature and philosophy,
figured frequently in his seascapes.
He often painted in the
White Mountains, and his name can be found in the guest registers of
many places artists frequented in those mountains. The
coast of Maine was also a favorite painting venue of Brown's for over
thirty years. He depicted the wholesome outdoor environment of
the state, with special fondness for the Casco Bay area and Grand
Manan, an island off the New Brunswick, Canada coast. Brown also
produced two widely distributed illustrations of Crawford Notch for the
Maine Central Railroad in 1890.
Harrison Bird Brown exhibited
at the National Academy of Design in New York from 1858 to 1860, and at
the Boston Athenaeum and Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in
1876. By 1892 he had become the best known native Maine painter
of his time, and gained fame for himself and the state with a large
canvas in the Maine pavilion of the 1893 World's Colombian Exposition
in Chicago. In 1892 he was elected president of the Portland
Society of Art.
That same year, however, he moved to England
to be with his only surviving child, a daughter, and spent the last
twenty-three years of his life there. He died in England in 1915,
and his work has been preserved at the Peabody Museum in Salem,
Massachusetts and at the Portland Museum of Art. Most of his
paintings were completed in New England before he moved to London, but
he continued to paint until his death in 1915.
Harrison Bird Brown's works can be seen at the Peabody Museum in Salem, Massachusetts and at the Portland Museum of Art.
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
James Eason, Archivist for Pictorial Collections, The Bancroft Library
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