Sheldon Museum of Art


Date of this Version



Sheldon Solo, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, June 10 - July 20, 1997


All images are copyright by the original artists. Publication copyright 1997 The Regents of the University of Nebraska


I n addition to featuring a selection of recently completed paintings of jazz performers, Frederick Brown: The Jazz Paintings offers a broad cross section of the work of one of the most eclectic and aesthetically diverse African-American painters working today.

Born in Greensboro, Georgia in 1945 and reared in a working class neighborhood in Chicago, Frederick Brown graduated with a degree in painting from the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale in 1968 and two years later, moved to New York, where he became intimately involved with a community of jazz musicians that included Ornette Coleman and Anthony Braxton. In 1975, Brown met Willem de Kooning, one of this century's great painters, who inspired him to devote himself completely to painting not simply as a career, but as a sacred calling

Brown's first solo show in New York was at the Noah Goldowsky Gallery in 1975 and by the 1980s, he was exhibiting at the Marlborough Gallery in New York. By the late 1970s, Brown's painting had begun to move away from the large and colorful de Kooning-inspired abstractions to more representational painting, although he maintains that his work continues to be "abstract" in one way or another. In 1988, Brown staged a retrospective exhibition, consisting of over 100 paintings, at the National Museum of the Chinese Revolution in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, the first exhibition of a Western artist in a national museum in China.

Since the 1980s, Brown's work has been in high demand and he has fulfilled many commissions, from cover illustrations of The New Yorker to public monuments, such as his colossal 33' x 28' The Assumption of Mary at the Xavier College Library in New Orleans.

In 1994 Brown completed The History of Art, now on permanent display at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City. Consisting of 110 paintings on seven walls, this impressive installation offers a visual document of the history of art through Brown's unique perspective.