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 Matilda (Van Wyck) Browne  (1869 - 1947)

About: Matilda (Van Wyck) Browne


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Lived/Active: New York/Connecticut/New Jersey      Known for: farm landscape, floral and animal-genre painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Matilda Browne
1869 (Newark, New Jersey)
1947 (Greenwich, Connecticut)

New York/Connecticut/New Jersey

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farm landscape, floral and animal-genre painting

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Old Lyme Colony Painters
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Matilda Browne is noted for her farm and cattle scenes, which has led to her being compared to the French woman painter of cattle, Rosa Bonheur.  Browne also did floral paintings but her reputation was for her ability to paint cows as though they were actually standing in the field.  A child protege, she received early art training from her artist-neighbor, Thomas Moran, from Elizabeth and Kate Greatorex, and Frederick Freer who came from Philadelphia to give her lessons.

Browne studied in Paris, beginning 1889, with Julian Dupre, "one of the great French painters of cattle", and then went to Holland.  There she bought a cow to use as a model.  Painting this animal in a pose of rebellion against being tied by her to a post, she created a painting called "Unwilling Model" that she exhibited in the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Browne was the first woman artist member of the Old Lyme, Connecticut art colony, and in 1905, filled a request to paint a door panel of the Florence Griswold Mansion at Old Lyme.

Memberships included the National Association of Women Artists, the American Water Color Society, and the Society of Painters of New York.  She exhibited in 1890 with the Paris Salon, the National Academy of Design for 50 years, the Art Institute of Chicago four times between 1892 and 1922, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts between 1921 and 1936.

She married writer Frederick Van Wyck, for whom she did book illustrations including Recollections of an Old New Yorker.

Paul Sternberg, Sr., Art by American Women

Biography from The Cooley Gallery:
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Matilda Browne was active in Greenwich, Connecticut, New York City, and Old Lyme, Connecticut, where she was affiliated with the art colony centered at Florence Griswold's home.

She is honored with the reputation of being the only woman at Old Lyme who was taken seriously as a painter by her male colleagues, and she was considered an important member of the Old Lyme group.  In fact, Browne was asked to paint a door panel in the dining room at Miss Griswold's, a prestigious invitation and one that clearly shows she was a part of that coterie of artists.

As a young painter, Browne studied under Thomas Moran in New Jersey.  She
went on to study flower painting with Eleanor and Kate Greatorex, livestock painting with Carleton Wiggins, and animal painting with the Dutch artist Henry Bisbing.

After spending time in Europe in the late 1880s, Browne returned to New York City and began to exhibit in the metropolitan area.  Records show that the artist was in Greenwich, presumably working at Cos Cob, in the late 1890s, and on and off throughout her career; she worked in Old Lyme from 1905-06 and periodically from 1911-24.

Sometime around 1918 she married Frederick Van Wyck, and in 1932 her illustrations were published in her husband's book, Recollections of an Old New Yorker.

Although flower and animal painting became Browne's specialty, her skill in both genres led her to elevate her subject matter, and her work stands comparison with some of the best Impressionists of the age.

American Watercolor Society, New York, NY
New York Society of Painters, New York, NY
Greenwich Art Association, Greenwich, CT
Allied Artists of America, New York, NY
Founding member, National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, New York, NY

Dodge Prize (National Academy of Design, 1889)
Third Hallgarten Prize (National Academy of Design, 1901)
Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts (awards, 1918, 1919)
Greenwich Art Association (prize, 1929)

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

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