UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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John Lewis Brown, 1829-1890

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 1829
Place of Birth: Bordeaux
Date of Death: 1890.11.14
Place of Death: Paris

Identity:

John Lewis Brown was a painter and lithographer.

Life:

Brown made his début at the Salon in 1848. He worked with Camille Joseph Etienne Roqueplan and Jean Hillaire Belloc and made his name as a painter of dogs and horses (e.g. Fox Hunters, 1886; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and of sporting and military scenes (e.g. Episode from the Life of Marshal Conflans, 1876; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tours). During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1) he painted on the front line.

The subjects of Brown's lithographs were also largely military and equestrian, for example, the coloured lithograph Cavalryman on a Grey Horse (1884; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris). Like JW, he played an important part in the revival of interest in this medium.

Brown's later paintings of the racetrack were influenced by Edgar Degas and the Impressionist painters, e.g. Before the Start (1890; Musée du Louvre, Paris). His style was strongly influenced by Ernest Meissonier and Eugène Lami.

Brown had a number of links with Britain. He exhibited in Scotland at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, and in 1889 he was among those included in the preliminary preparations for a meal to be held at the Criterion in London on 1 May in celebration of JW's honorary membership of the Royal Academy in Munich (#05635). In 1887 Brown had exhibited with JW at the sixth Exposition Internationale de Peinture et de Sculpture at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris (#04089).

In 1889 both Brown and JW were awarded first class medals for painting at the Universal Exhibition in Paris (#03786). In June 1890 JW mentioned the possibility of holding an exhibition in the Grosvenor Gallery that would include works by himself, Brown, Ernest-Ange Duez and others (#08144). JW was distressed at Brown's premature death in November 1890, describing him as 'a dear good fellow' (#03803).

Bibliography:

Hediard, G., Les Maîtres de la lithographie: John-Lewis Brown, Paris, 1897; Bénédite, L., John-Lewis Brown: Etude biographique et critique suivie du catalogue de l'oeuvre lithographique et gravé de cet artiste exposé au Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, 1903; Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres Sculpteurs Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Johnson, J. and A. Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1880; 'John-Lewis Brown', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, http://www.groveart.com (accessed 01 December 2003).