At the end of this month, the NSLM will be opening an exhibition of works by American illustrator Paul Brown (1893 – 1958). If there was ever an artist that horse people really love, it’s this one! Brown is known for his talent at depicting horses in action – capturing movement, emotion, and personality. Our first exhibition of Paul Brown from the Permanent Collection will feature his steeplechasing images from the 1930s. It will be on view August 29, 2015 through January 17, 2016.
Even though he was never a rider himself, Brown was a keen observer of horses and riders at races, hunt meets, polo matches, and horse shows. He traveled to major steeplechase races in America and England throughout his career and documented many gallant wins and dramatic crashes.
The toughest part about putting together this exhibition? Deciding which fabulous works to put on the wall! The NSLM is lucky to have over 200 examples of original works by Paul Brown. This installation is made up entirely of works within the collection. All but one – a rare 1930 oil painting – are works on paper. Pencil, ink, and watercolor are materials which are sensitive to light exposure, so we must limit the amount of time they are on display. Many of the works on view will be original pencil and ink drawings from some of Brown’s most popular books, first published in the 1930s: Spills and Thrills (1933), Ups and Downs (1936), and Good Luck and Bad (1940).
Many of you may already be familiar with Brown’s illustrations from his books for children or his “how to draw” books. It’s worth the trip to see the original works in person – some with delicate shading and subtle tone, or others with quick sketches that capture a moment with just a few lines.
In conjunction with this exhibition, NSLM will be publishing the Inaugural Llangollen Race Meeting Sketchbook. This collection of previously unpublished sketches by Paul Brown documents the glamorous steeplechase held at Llangollen Farm, in Upperville, Virginia, in 1931. The book features an essay by racing historian Dorothy Ours. The book will be released in September. Click here to learn more or pre-order.