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 Nicholas Richard Brewer  (1857 - 1949)

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Lived/Active: Minnesota/Texas      Known for: landscape and portrait painting-prominent persons

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Ad Code: 3
Nicholas Richard Brewer
from Auction House Records.
In the Texas Cattle Country
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A prominent 19th century portrait and landscape painter in Minnesota, New York and Texas, Nicholas Brewer was born in Olmstead County, Minnesota and was raised on a farm along the Root River in southeastern Minnesota. He was a student in New York of Dwight Tryon and Charles Noel Flagg at the National Academy of Design where he also exhibited. He painted a crucifixion in the Cathedral of St. Paul, in Minnesota as well as portraits of many prominent persons in his native state.

Exhibition venues include the Minnesota State Art Society, the Minneapolis Art Institute, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh.

He was a member of the American Federation of Arts, the California Art Club and the Salmagundi Club.

Brewer wrote an autobiography, "Trails of a Paintbrush," published in 1938. It describes his life growing up in rural Minnesota, his travels to St. Paul and later to New York, and his attempts to provide for his family, including artist son Adrian, while becoming a renowned artist. Additionally, it contains Brewer's insights into the art world of late nineteenth century American and the process by which cultural institutions and patronage spread across the nation.

Sources include:
John and Deborah Powers, "Texas Painters, Sculptors and Graphic Artists"

Biography from Kramer Gallery, Inc.:
A prolific landscape and portrait artist, Nicholas Brewer traveled to some twenty states to exhibit his paintings and attract commissions. Born in rural Minnesota, Brewer gained early training in nearby Rochester before studying with Dwight Tryon and Charles Noel Flagg in New York City. He later set up a studio in St. Paul, which remained home base for the rest of his long career.

Brewer’s landscape paintings range from moody Tonalist scenes of woods and rivers, to more highly-keyed, Impressionist-influenced works with particular sensitivity to seasonal effects. As a mature portraitist, he worked in Washingon, D.C., Arkansas, Ohio, Texas, and other states. His sitters included musician Maude Powell, actor Joseph Jefferson, Senator Frank B. Kellogg, and Archbishop John Ireland, as well as countless local politicians and socialites. His best portraits are marked by loosely-brushed backgrounds and settings, focusing attention on more firmly modeled faces and hands.

Brewer recounted his exploits in a rambling and gossipy autobiography, "Trails of a Paintbrush". Several of his sons were also professional artists; the best known is Edward V. Brewer, creator of the popular early-twentieth-century Cream of Wheat advertising illustrations.

Written and submitted by Thomas O'Sullivan, museum curator and freelance writer.

Brewer, Nicholas R.: TRAILS OF A PAINTBRUSH (1938)
Coen, Rena Neumann: PAINTING AND SCULPTURE IN MINNESOTA 1820-1914 (1976)
Michael Conforti (ed.): MINNESOTA 1900: ART AND LIFE ON THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI (1994)

Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul MN
Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul MN
Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown OH
Stark Museum of Art, Orange TX
Museum of the City of New York, New York NY
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery AL

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