U.S., 1907-1961 Woman with Bird, 1945
Tempera on board
20 x 24 in.
State Department Collection, Purchase, War Assets Administration,
was a founding member of the Abstract American Artists (AAA) group
which was established in 1936. Although he was an abstract painter,
Browne's work was rarely without some reference to nature. Woman
with Bird is an example of his more biomorphic work in which
things found in nature were distilled into geometric shapes. Particular
forms are recurrent in his paintings, creating a private iconographical
language. Bird's eyes, suggested by white circles outlined in black,
along with fish fin and tail shapes found in Woman with Bird
are some of Browne's commonly used symbols.
Throughout the 1930s and most of
the 1940s, American abstractionists could scarcely find an audience
due to the popularity of figurative art. In a 1937 editorial, Browne
and six other members of the AAA responded to an art critic's statement
that abstract art had no meaning: ". . . It is our very definite
belief that abstract art forms are not separated from life, but
on the contrary are great realities . . . made by artists who walk
the earth, who see colors (which are realities), squares (which
are realities, not some spiritual mystery), tactic surfaces [sic],
resistant materials, movement."