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William Theophilus Brown

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Two Figures on a Rock, 1968 Oil on Canvas 42 X 40 Inches © Courtesy of Artist and John Berggruen Gallery
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Red Moon, 1971 Mixed Media 10.5 X 6.5 Inches
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Self Portrait, 1994 Mixed Media 13.5 X 11 Inches
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Sleeper, 1995 Acrylic on Paper 11.5 X 14.5 Inches
20110818102952-wtb_smokestacks
Smokestacks, 1989 Acrylic on Canvas 54 X 65 Inches
20110818103827-wtb_triple
Triple Self Portrait, 1976 Acrylic on Paper 6 X 4 Inches
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By the River, 1988 Acrylic on Canvas 54 X 76.5 Inches
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Untitled #3, 2005 Acrylic Collage on Paper 10 X 12 In. Framed: 18 X 20 In. © William Theophilus Brown
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Football, 1952 Oil on Canvas 22 X 34 Inches
20130107132132-william_theophilus_brown_a_satyr_watching_actis_and_galatea_1963_1620_371
A Satyr Watching Actis and Galatea, 1963 Oil on Board 12 X 16 Inches © Courtesy of the Artist and Elins Eagles Smith Gallery
20130205214543-dac_browntheo_stilllife
Still Life, 1969 Acrylic and Pencil on Board 15 7/8 X 19 In. © From the Collection of the Davis Art Center
Quick Facts
Birth year
1919
Representing galleries
Statement

At a time in the 1950s when non-objective painting dominated, William Theophilus Brown painted recognizable subject matter, especially the human figure, in order to convey the personal and often introspective exploration of self. Like his partner Paul Wonner, Brown was an intimate of Richard Diebenkorn and David Park and a luminary of Bay Area Figuration. 

In the early 1960s, Brown and Wonner moved from the Bay Area to Southern California, and then to Santa Barbara. Before the move, Brown’s manner featured nudes rendered in generalized, but confident, painterly strokes. Only when he changed his environs did his mature style emerge. Southern California was an Eden for pursuing the human form and the play of light, and there Brown focused on classic bathers in bright, frank compositions where both the body and psychological relationships stood front and center.

Brown’s later industrial cityscapes composed from on-site sketches and photographs of Alameda, Oakland and San Francisco are a continuation of Brown’s appreciation for the broad massing of forms and serene settings. His cityscapes executed over a period of five years, from 1985–90, make the urban environment’s abandoned pockets similarly mysterious.