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Portrait of Joan Brown, 1990, by Chris Felver/Getty Images

Joan Brown

Featured on the Slate

Combining brilliant colors and personal symbolism, Joan Brown was an American figurative painter and a member of the second generation of the Bay Area Figurative Painters.

Artist Portfolio

Living and working in San Francisco for most of her life, Joan Brown earned a BFA and MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute. Immediately, her bold, colorful work met with success and she became a leading figure among Bay Area Figurative painters. In the 1970s, Brown became interested in the ancient cultures of Egypt, China and India, and began to use symbolic imagery. By the 1980s, she shifted focus to public installations, which she felt were a more democratic form of art. A traveling retrospective, organized by SFMOMA, is expected in 2022-24.

Joan and Donald, 1982, oil enamel on canvas 72 ⅛ x 60 inches
Acrobat and Shadow #2, 1975, enamel on canvas 84 x 72 inches
Mary Julia Y Manuel, 1976, enamel on canvas 95 x 77 ¼ inches