BIOGRAPHY

BYRON BROWNE

(1907-1961)

George Byron Browne was born in 1907 in Yonkers, New York. He later dropped the name “George,” although his name occasionally appears as George-Byron Browne or George B. Browne. He attended the National Academy of Design in New York City from 1924 to 1928. In 1927, he began experimenting with abstract art and eventually destroyed all of his previous representational works. Most noted was the prize winning still-life canvas that he destroyed after the piece won the Hallgarten Prize as a protest to antiquated academia, which disallowed for the “modern movement. Throughout his life, Browne was a champion for abstract art. In the 1930’s, Browne worked for the WPA’s mural division, completing some of the first abstract murals in the country for Studio D at radio station WNYC, the U.S. Passport office in Rockefeller Center, the Chronic Disease Hospital, the Williamsburg Housing Project, and the 1939 World’s Fair. In the 1940’s, he picketed the Museum of Modern art in New York protesting their lack of acknowledgment of American Abstract artists. Browne married Rosalind Benglesdorf in 1940, a painter and writer, who also spoke out in defense of abstract art and was a member of the American Abstract Artists along with her husband.

He was an American Modernist and Abstract Painter. He was influenced by Cubism, Miro's fluid feel, and by Abstract Expressionism. Byron Browne was a leader of the American Avante Garde art movement in the 1930’s and 40’s along with Bolotowsky, Greene, Gorky, and de Kooning. These artists helped pave the way for America, New York in particular, to be seen as a center for art innovation after decades of France being the art center of the world. He was given over sixty solo exhibitions from 1933 to 1970. Byron Browne was an instructor of painting at the Arts Student League from 1948 to 1959 and taught Advanced Painting at New York University from 1959 until his untimely death in 1961. The Arts Student League later designated a scholarship in his name.