John George Brown

John George Brown (November 11, 1831 – February 8, 1913), British and American painter, was born in Durham, England, on 11 November 1831. He studied at Newcastle-on-Tyne, in the Edinburgh Academy. His parents apprenticed him to a glass worker at the age of fourteen, in an attempt to dissuade him from pursuing painting. After moving to New York City in 1853, he studied with Thomas Seir Cummings at the National Academy of Design, where he was a National Academician from 1861-1863. He was the Academy's vice-president from 1899 to 1904. Around 1855 he married the daughter of his employer, the owner of a Brooklyn glass company. His father-in-law continued to encourage his artistic abilities, supporting him financially so Brown could paint full time. In 1866 he became one of the charter members of the Water-Color Society, of which he was president from 1887 to 1904. Brown became famous for his depictions of street urchins he found on the streets of New York, like bootblacks, street musicians, posy sellers, newsboys, etc. His Passing Show (Paris, Salon, 1877) and Street Boys at Play (Paris Exhibition, 1900) are good examples of his popular talent. Brown's art is best characterized as British genre paintings adapted to American subjects. Essentially literary, it is executed with precise detail, but is poor in color, and more popular with the general public than with connoisseurs.

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