<font color="#808080">BROWNE, George</font>

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(1918 - 1958)

George Browne was recognized in the mid-1950s as a sporting artist of the first rank, the ascendant star among American wildlife painters of his generation. His oils of waterfowl and upland game birds in flight were compared favorably to the works of Frank Benson and Ogden Pleissner, and his paintings of big game animals, to those of Carl Rungius.

Every painting he completed sold quickly, and his dealers were continually pleading for more of his pictures to satisfy the demands of their customers. Browne was talented and skilled and versatile; and as he was a sportsman who knew his subjects from lifelong experience, his pictures had authenticity. He was, furthermore, dedicated to his craft, a painter who worked constantly and conscientiously to improve his technique. Then, in the spring of 1958, at the age of forty, he was killed in a shooting accident, and a brilliant and most promising career was abruptly ended.

Odd though it may seem, George Browne and his remarkable work were virtually forgotten in the years following his tragic death. As all of his paintings had been sold, dealers had nothing to offer; and the individuals who owned Browne’s works held onto them and passed them on as family heirlooms. He had painted only a few more than 200 pictures in the decade in which he worked as a professional artist. Only rarely did any pictures come on the market; consequently and ironically, because his paintings were so highly regarded by those who owned them, his name was not before the public.

For the first time in thirty-five years people had an opportunity to learn about George Browne and to see reproductions of his paintings when in 1933, Sporting Classics published an informative and insightful article by Tom Davis, which served to reintroduce this remarkable painter and his work. Davis titled his essay "George Browne: the Greatest Wildlife Artist That Most People Never Heard Of." "Those who have heard of Browne, and who know his luminous work," Davis wrote, "amount to a handful of astute dealers and collectors. To a person, they are in unanimous agreement that, had the fates granted Browne a normal lifespan…he would be regarded as one of the few legitimate masters of the wildlife genre." Davis quotes Francis Lee Jaques, who was certainly a "legitimate master of the wildlife genre": "I fear I was a little jealous of George Browne’s work, as I don’t believe I was of any other artist. His work was a breakthrough. It was different – and better." That’s what we lost when George Browne was killed in 1958.

Russell Fink Gallery P. O. Box 250 Lorton, VA 22199
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