Historical Journal

Journal Archives,Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Archives,Reviews

Emily Brown: Landscape Paintings

October 29, 1983
Judith Stein

A writer and curator, studied at Barnard College, and has a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Eye of the Sixties, Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016). Her curatorial projects include Red Grooms, A Retrospective, for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Figurative Fifties, New York School Figurative Expressionism, co-curated with Paul Schimmel. Her exhibition, I Tell My Heart: The Art of Horace Pippin, traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1995, and earned a best catalogue award from AICA/USA. Her articles, interviews and reviews have appeared in Art in America, Art News, and The New York Times Book Review, as well as on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Among her honors is a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant; a Pew Fellowship for literary non-fiction; and a Lannan Foundation writing residency in Marfa, Texas.

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"I have strong feelings about certain places and work to convey them to others. At times conscious metaphors arise to indicate an inner state."

October 29, 1982 through January 2, 1983
Morris Gallery exhibitions are partially and generously funded by a grant from the Rohm and Haas Company.
“Realistic landscape, which the ignorant believe to be one of the easiest forms of painting, is actually one of the most inaccessible, one in which success is rarest and most precarious.” – Sir Kenneth Clark, Landscape into Art
“I never saw an ugly thing in my life.” – Constable
When Emily Brown paints a landscape, she starts with the sky. It’s laid in all at once, specific, clear, translucent. The sky determines the light of the whole, the light establishes the tenor. Later, she may negotiate changes in color tonalities or densities. But the overwhelming “feel” of a scene is resolved at the onset.
Everyone creates order for themselves out of the unsorted material of life. As a painter, Brown acknowledges this subjective preference and picks views and moments which coincide with her varying moods. Most usually, she works in the presence of the land. Three Trees, Fairmount Park, for example, was finished in six weeks of on-site sessions. An exception is Christie House at Night, which was painted indoors from memory.
In a few of her recent works, people appear. Eschewing grand or romantic presentations of nature’s magnificent wilds, Brown favors inhabited land, where the after trail of a jet or an orderly garden plot cues us to the presence of humans. Brown thoughtfully presents our environment as a courteous expanse, at once curved and continuous yet sliced across by manmade edges. These intense and personal smallscale paintings possess a power far larger than their size might suggest.

Judith Stein
Coordinator, Morris Gallery
Artist Statement
I paint out of doors. With this comes physical and visual challenges which are a part of the experience of making the paintings. And so, too, comes the joy of being in touch with things which we have not made.
The natural world is a source for the spirit: the effect of light on a particular place can be exhilarating; close contact with familiar terrain can comfort.
I have strong feelings about certain places and work to convey them to others. At times conscious metaphors arise to indicate an inner state. Other times the metaphors enter without conscious decision.
The starting place is always in the landscape.

Emily Brown
All paintings are oil on linen. Unframed dimensions are in inches.
1. Perry Pond, 1979
15 x 18
Lent by Will Brown
2. Jet Trails, 1976
16 x 122
3. Community Garden, 1980
15 x 15
Lent by Dechert, Price and Rhoads
4. Mr. Littlefield’s Farm Pond, 1981
15 x 22
5. Tree, Laurel Hill West, 1981
14 1/2 x 26
6. Foot Bridge, Belfast, Maine, 1981
15 x 17
7. Both Bridges, Belfast, Maine, 1981
15 x 17
8. Christie House at Night, 1982
16 x 29
9. Buildings and Children, Walpack, 1982
30 x 36
10. Three Trees, Fairmount Park, 1982
16 x 18
11. Three Trees, Maine, 1982
22 x 28
12. Apple Tree, 1982
6 x 12
13. Red Farm, 1982
10 x 12
14. Pine, Cloudy Day, 1982
8 x 12
15. Running Girl, 1982
8 x 16
16. Main Street, Belfast, Maine, 1981
5 x 7
Lent by Mr. & Mrs. Neil Welliver
17. Bend in the Road, Walpack, 1982
12 x 12
18. Kittatinny Blue Sky, 1982
22 x 28
19. Kittatinny Pond, 1982
22 x 28
20. Levenseller Mt., 1980
15 3/4 x 15 5/8
Lent by Dechert, Price and Rhoads

Artist Biography
Born Emily Scott in Bryn Mawr, Pa. in 1943, Emily Brown attended Middlebury College from 1960 to ’62. A painting major at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston from 1962 to ’64, Emily Brown also studied at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1964 to ’66. Her B.FA was granted by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts in 1966, where she studied with Neil Welliver. In the same year, she married fellow student Will Brown. Her daughter Eliza was born in 1975.
Brown has shown in several group shows in the past four years in Philadelphia, New York, Belfast, ME, and Vineyard Haven, MA. Her first solo exhibition was at the Eric Makler Gallery, Philadelphia, in 1980. In the Spring of 1982, Brown was Artist Residence at the Artists for Environment Foundation, Walpack Center, New Jersey, where she is currently teaching. She was a founding member of the Third Street Gallery, Philadelphia, an artist run cooperative.
The Morris Gallery displays the work of outstanding contemporary artists with a connection to Philadelphia, determined by birth, schooling or residence. A committee composed of area artists, museum personnel and collectors, and the curatorial staff of the Academy chooses the exhibitions. Currently serving on the Morris Gallery Exhibition Committee are: Murray Dessner, Anne d’ Harnoncourt, Jennie Q. Dietrich, Janet Kardon, Charles Mather III, Dr. Perry Ottenberg, David Pease, Jody Pinto, Acey Wolgin; and Academy staff Frank Goodyear, Kathy Foster, Linda Bantel, Judith Stein.
Copyright Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1982
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