The Enchantment of Realism
written by Philip Eliasoph
Hudson Hills Press | ISBN 9781555953669
Hardback – 180 pages
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Colleen Browning (1929 - 2003) was a pivotal realist painter and of the few women to achieve national recognition for a genre dominated primarily by men. Since childhood, Browning had the desire to be a painter. She attended London's Slade School of Art from 1946-1948, and had her first solo exhibition at London's Little Gallery when she was 20 years old. She moved to America in 1949 from Ireland, and felt immediately at home in New York City; making it her home for the next five decades. A major figure in the realist movement during the 1950s, she drew on the inspiration and direction she received from the already established realist artists Joseph Hirsch, Ben Shahn, and George Tooker. Browning has a distinct brand of figurative painting, with subjects ranging from worshipers in a Guatemalan church to graffiticovered Harlem subway cars to still life compositions. Her work is largely recognized for its superior command of materials and media and for her unwavering devotion to understanding the human condition. She was a prominent contributor the realist revival of the 1990s as she continued to paint until the very last years of her life. Her work was included in the National Academy of Design's yearly exhibitions, and she has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial exhibitions, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Kennedy Galleries in New York. She was elected a National Academician in 1966, and has served as an officer at the Academy.
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