Joan Brown, The Room, Pt. 1 (detail), 1975, Carnegie Museum of Art, Gifts of Paul Chanin, Samuel Kootz, and Dr. and Mrs. Laibe A. Kessler, by exchange © 1975 Estate of Joan Brown

Joan Brown

Heinz Galleries

The first major survey of Joan Brown (American, 1938–1990) in over 20 years, this exhibition offers a compelling look at the prolific career of a painter who was known for her large-scale, high-key portraits of family, animals, and herself. This exhibition charts a full trajectory from the artist’s student days in the 1950s Bay Area to her premature death in 1990, and will re-introduce this underrecognized, yet critically important painter to new generations of audiences. The exhibition will bring together Brown’s early impasto canvases from the late 1950s and early 1960s and her later paintings featuring flat graphic patterns and vivid colors. Portraits of animals, her husbands, and son present diaristic and intimate scenes, while her resplendent self-portraits depict the artist swimming in the Bay, traveling overseas, or surrounded by an ever-expanding symbology in pursuit of spirituality.

Joan Brown is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition is curated by Janet Bishop, Thomas Weisel Family Chief Curator and Curator of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA, and Nancy Lim, Associate Curator, Painting and Sculpture, SFMOMA. Carnegie Museum of Art’s presentation is organized by Liz Park, Richard Armstrong Curator of Contemporary Art at Carnegie Museum of Art.

Exhibition Images

A painting depicts a high-back chair facing a wall. A woman’s leg wearing a sock and ballet flat hangs over the arm of the chair. On the wall, a painting is hung depicting a group of horsemen in a desert


Carnegie Museum of Art is supported by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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