/ Site Contents / Fine Art /
Before 1976 /
Although better known nationally for his movie illustrations Reynold Brown did many paintings and drawings for the Fine Arts Market. Some of this material was produced while he was also doing his illustration work.
When he first returned from New York in 1951 Brown took a few classes with noted portrait artist Will Foster in Los Angeles. This very much affected his choice of colors and for many years in his fine arts work he tended to use muted colors. This may also be at least in part due to his German/British heritage. The early portraits included a series of the artist's model "Camille". The portraits, mostly studies, are generally subdued, not only in color, but also in presentation. It may be that they provided a quiet place to paint in comparison to the extreme action and drama required for Brown's movie and magazine illustration. This early experience caused Brown to use muted colors in his landscapes and western scenes generally.
|Besides the portraits Brown did a series of seascapes and landscapes. Many of
these were maritime or ocean scenes in the harbors near Los Angeles,
His landscapes were generally of the chaparral region of California as well as its desert areas where he painted often done while camping with his former high school art teacher and then long time friend Lester Bonar.
Reynold Brown became angered by the changes in Hollywood and the type of movie commissions he was getting, especially those from American International Pictures (AIP) and was frustrated by the poor quality of the movies he was getting commissions on. These were often about hells angels or motorcycle gangs, or sleazy types of movies emphasizing sexual violence and exploitation.
He discussed his frustration with Mary Louise who encouraged him to quit doing this type of work. He was very concerned about his ability to take care of his family of eight children, although three had already grown and left there were still five daughters to go. With Mary's support he finally separated from the movies in 1970. He was very worried about how he was going to pay his bills. Yet about two days after taking the last of the movie material back in to the studios Brown received a call from Perry House Gallery in Monterrey, CA. The owner had heard about his work (possibly through Brown's friend and their client, artist/illustrator Donald Teague). Brown took his desert landscapes, and recognizing the recent growing interest in western subject paintings, painted cowboys into them. He also developed a working relationship with Ginger Renner who first introduced his work at her shows in Southern California. She invited him to show in her new gallery, Trailside Gallery in Jackson, Wyoming. He would continue to show with Trailside Galleries (which would open an additional gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona) until his stroke.
Brown set up a studio in San Gabriel, CA, near the mission, with his former
teacher and life long friend, Lester Bonar. Interruptions from visitors made
work difficult so he moved his studio back home (La Verne, CA) where he had
worked since 1954.
He was painting a subject he liked and over the next few years became popular in the western arts market. He was among the first artists to be shown in Trailside Gallery (Jackson, Wyoming). This gallery would become one of the leaders in the western art market in what was then a quiet little town.
|Brown quickly shifted from the quiet landscapes to story telling. His
paintings were filled with cattle rustlers, stampedes and Indian hunting
parties. He was moving to a more historical approach, painting scenes based on
his readings of western history. In 1976
His paintings receiving wide acclaim Brown seemed destined to be one of the top names in the western art market, but in 1976 things changed dramatically. That spring he was working on an historical piece, "The Demise of the Madam." Placed in Virginia City, NV in 1867, th large painting showed a funeral march for Julia Bulette, one of the first pioneers in the area and owner of the local brothel. For the members of the crowd Brown used his own friends; doctors, neighbors, even the milkman. But the work was not completed, Brown suffered a massive heart attack and stroke. Although Reynold Brown the artist survived, the meticulous painter of a realistic scene did not.
|Most of Brown's fine art works are in private collections. Their locations are generally unknown and some have been lost due to fires. Most of the paintings were numbered somewhere on the back. Here is a List of Pre-Stroke Fine Art Works. It includes thumbnails and enlargements of many of Brown's fine arts paintings done before 1976, when he had a stroke.|
to Post-1976 paintings
Home Page / Site Contents / Fine Art / Before 1976 / After 1976