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California, American and International Fine Art

Brown, William Theophilus (1919 – 2012)

Girl in Red Chair






William Theophilus Brown was a renowned artist closely associated with San Francisco Bay Area’s “figurative” movement. Born in Moline, Illinois, in 1919, Brown travelled to Connecticut, attending Yale University in the late 1930’s. Brown would later graduate in the year 1941, but had little time before being drafted into World War II. Upon discharge, Brown began his studies in painting, moving between New York and Paris. It was in 1950 New York that Brown became acquainted with and immersed in the nascent school of Abstract Impressionism. In this era, he also met an impressive array of artists, including Pablo Picasso, Braque, Giacometti, Balthus, and de Kooning. As Brown’s skill progressed, he began to build a unique style, however, he was no longer comfortable with painting in that style after coming to the realization that Abstract Expressionism posed an ideology he did not align with. He enrolled in the graduate studio program at UC Berkeley, where he met a group of artists including his lifelong partner Paul Wonner, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, James Weeks, and David Park. Together, those artists would form the group known as the Bay Area Figurative Movement. In the early 1960’s, Brown and Wonner moved to Santa Monica, where they formed relations with several other painters. Later, the two moved to San Francisco, where Brown would paint almost daily until his eventual death at age 92, on February 8, 2012.

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