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 Clinton Brown  ( - 1954)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: portrait, landscape, seascape, gardens

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Ad Code: 4
Clinton Brown
from Auction House Records.
Coastal Inlet
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted December 2004, is from David Rain, whose uncle was the life partner of the artist.

Clinton Brown, in later years painted under the name of Michael Clinton.

He died in 1954 in New York, where he spent much of his adulthood.

In New York he was known as a portrait painter, and he went regularly to the Bahama Islands, where he painted many small landscapes and seascapes, and private houses and gardens.

In the late 1940's he moved to San Francisco where he turned much of his attention to flower painting in order to have his work carried by a gallery, I believe called Gray, or with the name Gray in its title. It was at this time he began to sign his paintings Michael Clinton.

He continued to paint landscapes, however, and painted many scenes of the beautiful northern California mountains, etc. He painted Drake's Bay, north of San Fransisco, and many studies of mountains and a dry creekbeds.

One of his large beautiful portaits is called "The Green Shawl" and it depicts a Basque woman wearing a green shawl in a village street with a young man smoking a cigarette and someone carrying sticks in the background. It is signed Clinton Brown and dated 1933. The only indication I have that the woman is Basque is that my great uncle, who was Clinton Brown's life partner and who died in 1993, told me so.

Clinton Brown is also mentioned in the published diaries of Donald Vining, I believe in the 1930s. Vining was a young gay man who eventually published approximately 15 volumes of his diaries, and in at least one, possibly more, he mentions Clinton Brown as an older acquaintance who was a reputable portraitist. One of Vining's friends paid Brown to paint his portrait on a pay-as-he-could-afford-it basis, and the sitter moved from New York owing Brown money, with the painting unfinished. Vining told me about 1994 that he had soon thereafter, in the 1930s, paid Brown the $50 still owed to him and that he, Vining, still had the painting at the time of our conversation.

My great uncle told me that at the time of Brown's death, he had a gallery show mounted in New York at which his paintings were priced at about $10,000 each. Brown had gone into the hospital for surgery and died on the operating table. My great uncle, who also served as Brown's agent, inherited all of Brown's remaining paintings. I have several of them, including "The Green Shawl" as do other relatives.

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