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 Gertrude Grant Brown  (1878 - 1967)

About: Gertrude Grant Brown


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Lived/Active: District Of Columbia/Georgia/West Virginia      Known for: painter, craftsperson, art educator

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted November 2005, is from David McLaughlin, who is writing a book about the artist.
Gertrude Grant Brown, who specialized in watercolor and oil painting, was born on May 9, 1878 in Malden, West Virginia.  She was known as Gigi Bee (G.G.B.), Aunt Gert, or Brownie by her nieces, nephews, and friends.  She was the youngest of the eight daughters of Amanda Virginia Tompkins (first cousin of Ulysses Simpson Grant, 18th president of the United States), and John Calvin Brown (son of James Moore Brown, author of The Captives of Abb’s Valley.

Gertrude grew up first in Malden, West Virginia, where her father was pastor at Kanawha Salines Presbyterian Church from 1868 to 1892.  When she was fourteen years old (1892), her family moved to Lewisburg, West Virginia when her father became President of the Lewisburg Female Institute.  Gertrude was a student at the Lewisburg Female Institute until 1897.

In 1897, Gertrude Brown moved to Baltimore, Maryland to pursue higher education in fine art and painting at the Maryland Institute of Art.  Upon completing a four-year program, she received the gold medal, the institute's highest honor for academic achievement.

Gertrude left Baltimore in 1901 to continue her art studies in Europe, with time spent mostly in Paris, Munich, Florence, Naples, and Rome.  She returned to the United States in 1905 and continued her learning in art with summer sessions at Columbia University in New York.

In 1908, Gertrude Brown began a long career in teaching.  She was Professor of Art and the head of the art department at Brenau College-Conservatory in Gainesville, Georgia from 1908 to 1916.  That same year she moved to Washington, D.C. where she taught at Eastern and Central High Schools until she retired in the 1940s.

Gertrude Brown was a member of the American Watercolor Society from 1942 to 1958.  Her oil paintings and watercolors were widely exhibited from about 1900 until her eyesight started deteriorating in the 1950s.  Most of her work is not signed and some pieces are marked simply, "G. G. Brown" or "Brown".

Gertrude was never married and had no children.  She died on April 12, 1967.


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