Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of
paintings, drawings and collages by Northern California painter William
Theophilus Brown, a central figure in California painting during the
second half of the twentieth century.
Born in Moline Illinois in 1919, William Theophilus Brown studied music and painting at Yale University graduating in 1941. After serving in the Army during WWII, Brown resumed his art studies and moved to Paris in 1948 where he studied under Fernand Leger and Amedee Ozenfant, and was befriended by the American ex-patriot sculptor Mary Callery, who introduced him to Pablo Picasso and other figures in the art world of post war Paris.
Brown moved to New York in 1950 as Abstract Expressionism was emerging into the Manhattan gallery scene. He developed friendships with fellow West coast painter Mark Toby as well as Phillip Guston, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning who became a strong influence on his work.
In 1952 Brown arrived at U.C. Berkeley to begin Graduate study in painting. He shared a studio with young painters Paul Wonner and Richard Diebenkorn, and met Elmer Bischoff and James Weeks. They had been energized by San Francisco painter David Park’s rejection of Abstract Expressionism and re-embrace of the human figure into his painting. A creative bond formed that eventually evolved into what is now known as the San Francisco Bay Area Figurative Movement, the first nationally recognized West Coast style, whose influence is still felt today.
This exhibition presents paintings and drawings from Brown’s early years at Berkeley to his current work including a series of color collages marking his renewed interest abstraction.