Find, Learn, Price Art
Enjoy the comprehensive art database we've compiled since 1987
Membership Details
Images, sales charts, bios, signatures, 30 artist Alerts and more ...
Art auction records:  Millions of references for pricing research
Or, register for Free Alerts
To track 10 artists.

Already a member?  Sign in here

Harley Brown

 (born 1939)
Harley W. Brown is active/lives in Arizona, Alberta / Canada.  Harley Brown is known for portrait and animal painting, ethnic caricature, teaching.

Harley Brown

Biography from the Archives of askART

A Western painter and sculptor of figures and domestic animals, Harley Brown was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1939, and lives in Tucson, Arizona.  His father was an amateur artist who encouraged his young son from age seven to pursue art.  After graduation from high school, young Brown began doing department store window displays for an impressive $150 a month.

Later, he attended the Alberta College of Art in Calgary, supporting himself by selling his drawings door to door, and playing piano professionally.  After studying at the Camberwell School of Art in England for two years, Brown began to make a name for himself in Western art, and in 1966, he returned to Canada.  Shortly after, Brown met Bob Morgan, curator of the Montana State Historical Society.  Morgan put together a one-man show for Brown, where he sold all 70 of his paintings.

His career made another leap forward when he received a call from Bob Lougheed to submit some of his work for the National Academy of Western Art show, where he won a gold medal for drawing in 1977.

He is a member of the Northwest Rendezvous Artists, Helena, Montana; National Association of Watercolor Artists; Oil Painters of America*; Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Cowboy Artists of America* since 2004.  In 2005, he won two gold medals at the CAA annual exhibition.  He says of membership in the CAA:  "Being allowed to join them is a monumental event in my life." (CA)

Brown's work is in the collections of the C. M. Russell Museum; National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; and Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles.

Harley Brown was commissioned to paint Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and has painted many portraits of other well-known persons including President Ronald Reagan.  His painting media include oil, watercolor and pastel.

Periodicals Referencing This Artist:
2001 - May Southwest Art, "30 Years of Southwest Art" by Editor, Southwest Art
2001 - February Southwest Art, "Contemporary Western Artists" by Editor, Southwest Art
2001 - February American Artist, "Capturing Emotion" by Schneider, William
2001 - April Art of the West, "Oil Painters of America" by Editor, Art of the West
1999 - April Art - Talk, "Painting Nudes an Artistic Challenge" by Macomber, Bill

Books in which the artist or his works are featured:
1994 Splash II
1994 The Artistic Touch by Chris Unwins
1996 Splash IV
1996 The Artistic Touch II by Chris Unwins
1997 The Best of Flower Painting by Rachel Wolf
1997 The Best of Portrait Painting by Rachel Wolf
Harley Brown's Eternal Truths for Every Artist
2001 The Artists Bluebook: 24,000 North American Artists by, Lonnie Pierson Dunbier
2000 The Great American West by Editor, Settlers West
1998 Western Rendezvous of Art Twentieth Annual by Western Rendezvous of Art
1997 Mountain Oyster 28th Annual Contemporary Western Art Show by Mountain Oyster Club
1997 Leading the West: One Hundred Contemporary Painters and Sculptors by Donald J. Hagerty 1997 Red Book Price Guide - 1997 Western American Art by Southwest Art
1997 The Tucson 7 by Sherman, Tisa (others)
1997 Prix De West Invitational 1997 by National Cowboy Hall of Fame
1996 Prix De West Invitational 1996 by National Cowboy Hall of Fame
1994 Freshen Your Paintings with New Ideas by Lew Lehrman, Lewis Barrett
1993 Energize Your Paintings with Color 12 Artists Show You the Way by Lehrman, Lewis Barrett
1993 Master Index 1971-1993 Artists in Southwest Art by Southwest Art
1993 New Beginnings: A Group Exhibition by Jones Gallery
1993 The Red Book Western American Price Index by Southwest Art
1992 National Academy of Western Art Twentieth Annual Exhibition by National Cowboy Hall of Fame
1992 Being an Artist by Lehrman, Lewis Barrett
1987 Artist Invitational '87 C M Russell Museum by C M Russell Museum
1986 National Academy of Western Art Fourteenth Annual Exhibition by National Academy Western Art
1982 Contemporary Western Artists by Samuels, Peggy and Harold
1981 The Art of Trailside Galleries by Trailside Galleries
1980 National Academy of Western Art Eighth Annual Exhibition by National Cowboy Hall of Fame
1978 National Academy of Western Art Sixth Annual Exhibition by National Academy Western Art


CA Cowboy Artists of America 44th Annual Exhibition, 2009, Exhibition catalogue of the Cowboy Artists of America and the Phoenix Art Museum.

* For references, see AskART Glossary

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, I
Traditional painter of pastel and oil portraits of Indians, born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 1939 and living in Calgary, Alberta since 1966.

"A person's day is filled with confronting one face after another. Each face is so different, not only in features but in angles of expression or the way light hits on it. Each face has secrets to uncover, and I interpret a reflection of the person's life and mind. This is why I am so interested in the Indian face. Its lines, furrows, texture, and color are as much a part of nature as the Superstition Mountains."

While growing up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Brown earned a teaching degree in music while still in high school. He then went to Alberta College of Art in Calgary where he played honkey-tonk piano and did dollar portraits in tavern, sometimes settling for a round of beer. "I had a lot of hangovers in those days," he recalls, and he auctioned all of his paintings to finance studies at the Camberwell School of Art in London. He sold pastel portraits of Indians in England and when he returned to Calgary, he began intensive research on the reservations.

To paint a portrait, Brown sketches and photographs the Indian and an assistant takes the history. In his Calgary basement, he wears Bermuda shorts and a Mickey Mouse T-shirt while he paints to the soundtracks of old movies. "I've tried art other than portraits," he says, "but I keep coming back to them."

He was featured in Art West, summer 1977, and is a member of both the National Academy of Western Art and the Northwest Rendezvous Group.

Resource: Contemporary Western Artists, by Peggy and Harold Samuels 1982, Judd's Inc., Washington, D.C.

Biography from Red Piano Art Gallery
Born and raised in Canada, Harley Brown began his formal art training at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary and the Camberwell School on Art in London. After his return from studying in Europe, Brown began to see immediate success as a professional painter.

Known for his unique paintings of the American West, Brown also began to acquire a reputation for his portrait work.  He has completed portraits of several well known figures including Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, and Marilyn Monroe among others.

Brown is also the receipient of numerous awards including five gold medals from the Academy of Western Art (of which he is also a member), and his paintings hang in numerous collections including the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles.

In addition to his painting, Brown also leads numerous painting workshops and has written a book, Harley Brown's Eternal Truths for Every Artist.

Biography from Whistle Pik Galleries
Born in Edmonton, Alberta Canada, Harley Brown was encouraged early in life to pursue art. After high school, he enrolled in the College of Art in Calgary, but quickly became disillusioned by the abstract focus of his classes. He started selling his drawings door to door, while supplementing his income by playing piano professionally. Ready for a change, Harley, his wife, and young son moved to England, where he studied art for two years and began making a name for himself in western art. It was at this time that he was commissioned to paint Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Returning to Canada in 1966, Harley struggled to get his work accepted by galleries and finally held his first solo exhibition of seventy paintings at the Montana State Historical Society in 1973. It was a sell-out exhibition. Today, Harley has garnered an impressive following and continues to create his works from his home and studio in Arizona.

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

Share an image of the Artist

  Full access to biographies is
  free each Friday
Harley Brown

About  Harley Brown

Born:  1939 - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Known for:  portrait and animal painting, ethnic caricature, teaching

Essays referring to
Harley Brown

Western Artists