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Joan Brown Portrait of Toby the Cat
Joan Brown The Colonel in the Garden of Allah
Joan Brown The Misunderstanding
Joan Brown Self-portrait with Fish and Cat
Joan Brown Gordon, Joan and Rufus in Front of S.F. Opera House
Joan Brown Adolescent Cat #2
Joan Brown Woman and Dog with Chinese Rug
Joan Brown Yellow Dog Walking Along San Francisco Street
Joan Brown Skeleton with Schnauzer
Joan Brown Portrait of a Chicken
Joan Brown A Telephone Call
Joan Brown Joan Brown (Two Dogs)
Joan Brown Gallery Installation
Joan Brown Gallery Installation
Joan Brown Show Announcement

Press Release

During April and May the George Adams Gallery will exhibit paintings and drawings by Joan Brown (1938-1990). The exhibition, titled Joan Brown Cats & Dogs, focuses on the artist's depiction of her pets and will include 11 paintings and 3 works on paper ranging in date from 1964 to 1983.

Throughout her career Brown drew on her life experiences and immediate surroundings for her subject matter. Aside from self-portraits, Brown  favorite subjects were her closest friends, husbands or her son, often accompanied by animals. Animals held a special fascination for Brown, and her paintings are full of images of horses, buffaloes, rats, birds, fish, wolves, even gorillas. Of all the animals, however, her pet cats and dogs held a special place in her life and her work as the number of her works in which they appear can attest. In these paintings, often actual portraits, Brown captured the particular personality of each animal, from the self-absorbed pitbull Bob the Dog, to the  vain Toby and the loyal Rufus.

The earliest work in this exhibition is an acrylic on paper made for a 1964 exhibition announcement poster. Painted with the bold ecomony that marked her early gestural work, she depicts Bob the Dog asleep in front of a painting of himself. There is a two panel self-portrait painting  with her third husband, the artist Gordon Cook. Painted in 1969, they are posed in formal clothes in front of the San Francisco Opera House accompanied by their dog Rufus. There is also a series of works from the mid-70s depicting a schnauzer, notably the self-portrait Woman and Dog with Chinese Rug, 1975 and Skeleton with Schnauzer from 1973.

Other works in the exhibition include Self-portrait with Fish, 1970, a self-portrait set against a vibrant red ground showing the artist holding a fish while her cat Leela rubs against her leg. There is also Dog in San Francisco, 1972, a portrait of Gordon Cook's retriever Allen, and a humourously formal, large-scale portrait painting of her cat Toby seated on a rug from 1981.

Exhibition Checklist

1. The Colonel in the Garden of Allah, 1972
enamel on masonite
90 x 48 inches
JBRp 25

2. The Misunderstanding, 1978
enamel on canvas
96 x 78 inches
JBRp 20

3. Self-portrait with Fish and Cat, 1970
enamel on masonite
96 x 48 inches
JBRp 14

4. Gordon, Joan and Rufus in Front of S. F. Opera House, 1969
oil on canvas
two panels: left, 80 x 31 5/8inches; right, 80 x 60 inches
JBRp 49

5. Adolescent Cat #2, 1983
litho crayon on paper
28 1/2 x 22 inches
JBRd 06

6. A Telephone Call, 1975
pastel, marker and acrylic on paper
24 x 28 inches
JBRd 29

7. Portrait of Toby the Cat, 1981
oil enamel on canvas
72 3/4 x 60 3/4 inches
JBRp 53

8. Woman and Dog with Chinese Rug, 1975
enamel on canvas
84 x 72 inches
JBRp 43

9. Yellow Dog Walking Along San Francisco Street, 1972
enamel on masonite
90 x 48 inches
JBRp 50

10. Skeleton with Schnauzer, 1973
enamel and glitter on canvas
21 x 17 inches
JBRp 52

11. Joan Brown (Two Dogs), 1964
enamel on paper
39 x 29 inches
JBRd 51