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 James Michael Brown  (1853 - 1947)

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Lived/Active: Scotland      Known for: sport genre painting-golf

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Ad Code: 3
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from Auction House Records.
St. Andrews: Surviving Open Champions, 1905
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

James Michael Brown was born in Scotland in 1853, the son of a Fife engraver. He exhibited at the R&A between 1890 and 1900 and the R.S.A. between 1879 and 1897.  He died aged 94 in 1947.  One of his featured golfing scenes is at Walton Heath and shows Lloyd George (Minister of Munitions and later Prime Minister) completing his drive accompanied by James Braid, Herbert Fowler and Lord Riddell.

In 1838 the Life Association of Scotland was established in Edinburgh.  It later formed the Insurance and Banking Golf Club that then became the Duddingston Golf Club. In 1898, to mark the opening of the extended Club House, Brown was commissioned to paint a scene from an exhibition golf match at the Club. Brown's painting was then printed as the centre piece of the 1899 Life Association of Scotland calendar. The calendar which was printed in two blocks of 1899 dates along with various banking and monetary statistics was stuck to a board.

The calendar was voted a great marketing and advertising success. The Life Association of Scotland board justified the expense by stating 'it must surely be the aim and desire of a Life Assurance Association to prolong the lives of those who take out policies with them and what sport is there that can compare with golf as a cure for all the ills that flesh is heir to...' Brown was commissioned to paint a golfing picture annually for the Life Association (1893-1916). Prints were made of the originals and glued to the cardboard calendar for each year. Brown painted 26 pictures for the Life Association and these all adorned the walls of the Edinburgh head office for many years.

Most of his artwork was painted in watercolour and pencil en grisaille – a technique of painting in various shades of grey washes that produced a clarity that at first glance resembled a photograph. Brown often had the famous golfers of the time sit for him whilst at competitions and he used these studies to help him latter reproduce the accurate likenesses of the players in his paintings.


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