Lemon, Glass, and Knife

Lemon, Glass, and Knife
Carlyle Brown
1919-1963
Acquisition Number: 66.4
Medium: canvas
Size: 15" x 21 5/8"
Date: 1957

Carlyle Brown was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Eugene Montgomery Brown and his wife Goldie. He attended the Rudolph Schaeffler School of Design in San Francisco. Brown served in the U. S. Navy from 1942 to 1945. During his Navy service he wrote a fan letter to the Russian painter, Pavel Tchelitchew, who had immigrated to New York City just before the outbreak of WWII. Brown’s letter initiated a very intense relationship, with numerous letters exchanged during the four years of service. Tchelitchew urged Brown to draw as much as possible and to experiment with different methods of artistic creation. Their correspondence confirmed the mentoring influence that Brown already felt from Tcheltichew’s art. At the beginning of 1946, encouraged by Tchelitchew, Brown moved to New York City, residing first at the Hotel Seville and later on in a studio near Gramercy Park. He immediately immersed himself in the New York scene, meeting numerous artists and personalities. Brown worked in the world of fashion, receiving commissions from Harper’s Bazaar in 1947. Throughout the fashion world his work became popular; In 1947 he married Margery Hulett, who was in New York modeling for Vogue. They became world travelers, always returning to their apartment in New York City. In March of 1949 they traveled to the island of Ischia to find a house for the following summer and by the end of the year they had moved to Rome and settle into the world renowned artistic community in the Via Margutta. While Brown had, until this point, painted mostly portraits and figures, the summers spent on Ischia brought a different light to his subjects: this is the time when he started focusing on still-life subjects incorporating objects from the ambiance around him (bottles of wine, lemons, eggs, loaves of bread, flowers) set against Italian landscapes. Brown and Margery’s son, Christopher, was born in 1954. He and Margery cared deeply for each other; however he strayed from their relations, resulting in a divorce in the late 50's. Brown died at the age of 44 on December 21, 1963 in Rome, Italy.