(American, 1893-1958)Paul Brown is widely regarded as the pre-eminent American illustrator of equestrian subjects although he was never formally trained as an artist.
Brown is primarily known for his wonderful paintings, drawings and sketches of horses and equestrian sports, he is also well-known for his elegant and prolific illustrations for Brooks Brothers catalogs over three decades including more than one thousand drawings, making him a major influence on the image of urban males in twentieth-century America.
Paul Brown’s art is alive, original and strong without presumption. Color is only an occasional adjunct playing a very secondary role to the use of the hard-edged line. His style has a calculated simplicity an casual appearance, but is very carefully contrived and executed with much authority.
He used his wonderful powers of observation, drew heavily upon his copious notes and studies and greatly accepted the benefits of the camera only to cement his ideas. The rest was practice and care. His photographic memory proved to be an invaluable asset, enabling him to render images of specific moments sometimes years after they had taken place. Brown preferred to draw with a pencil and, although not fond of painting, he successfully employed a technique of using tinted paper with white highlights.
During the heyday of polo in the 1930’s, Paul Brown immortalized the sport for many in his illustrations for Peter Vischer’s POLO magazine, of which Brown was a member of the editorial board. Today those historical moments are often taken for granted, as is much of the past, but we still have Paul Brown’s unique legacy to breathe life into those special times.
Illustrating and writing books became Brown’s main occupation with the major publishers of the day including The Derrydale Press, Charles Scribner’s Sons, Dodd, Mead & Company. These books are avidly collected today and often fetch as much as an original work of art.