George Loring Brown

Artist Biography

One of the most celebrated expatriate American artists, George Loring Brown is known for his Claudian landscape paintings. Born in Boston in 1814, Brown got his start as a wood engraver, apprenticing with illustrators Abel Brown (1790–1850) and Alonzo Hartwell (1805–1873). Brown’s illustration and printmaking skills quickly progressed and he soon expanded to painting at a friend’s encouragement. In 1832, he sold his first painting for a sizable sum to a serious Boston collector. The proceeds from the painting, said to be around $50, afforded Brown passage to Paris, where he studied for several years with French Romanticist Eugene Isabey (1803–1886).

Brown spent much of his time in Paris at the Louvre, studying and copying the works of masters such as Claude Lorrain (1600–1682), Jacob Ruisdael (1628–1682), and John Constable (1776–1837). Brown was even given the nickname “Claude Brown” after Lorrain, his greatest influence. For the next twenty years, Brown spent much of his time in Italy, Germany, and France. During this time, he garnered acclaim at home and abroad, primarily for his idealized Italian landscapes.

Brown returned to America in 1859 and spent the latter part of his career painting his surroundings in New England, primarily the White Mountains. While he drew great inspiration from this native scenery, he continued to paint European scenes, both from imagination and from memory.

Brown exhibited extensively at the Boston Athenæum, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. His paintings are featured in the permanent collections of over thirty major institutions, including the High Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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