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Beulah Brown

female 1892-1988
Life city:
Muncie, IN
Work city:
Muncie, IN
Teachers:
Forsyth
Styles:
Flowers
Genre
Landscapes
Paintings
Watercolors
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re: Beulah Brown -



  • Delaware County

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A painter married to another painter, Francis F. Brown, Beulah Brown became a student of art in 1915, after graduating from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and then spending two years teaching school in Oolitic, Indiana. She had studied art briefly at the Conservatory, but it was enough to stir her interest, and she enrolled in the John Herron Art Institute where William Forsyth was her teacher. She married Brown, a fellow student, three months after meeting him, and after he graduated in 1916, the couple taught art in Indiana towns of New Richmond and of Mitchell, where Beulah had spent her childhood.

The Browns had four children, and Francis Brown joined the faculty of Ball State Teachers College in Muncie. Beulah was able to continue painting and earned money teaching, because her widowed mother moved in with them and did most of the housework. In 1932, the Browns added a large studio to their home, and Beulah and Francis often worked there together. It was also a family gathering place, with their children and friends playing there as well.

Beulah developed a special interest in fabric design, creating some very bold, colorful, abstract patterns, and she drew upon her flower garden for ideas. Also doing floral still lifes, she preferred working in watercolor because she was allergic to oil paint. This circumstance led her husband to paint in watercolor as well. In December of 1949, she began to paint snowscenes, which became signature work for her. Sales from these paintings also helped the family income because Francis Brown had his painting career curtailed because of glaucoma. In order to help him paint, she would arrange his palette in a certain way with colors.

Francis Brown died in 1971, and Beulah continued painting in the studio she had shared with him. She did a series of decorative naive style paintings that were popular and that led to comparisons with Grandma Moses. She resented the comparison because of her sophisticated schooling and the fact that Grandma Moses was self taught.

Source:
Judith Vale Newton and Carol Ann Weiss, Skirting the Issue, pp.87-93

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