Samuel Joseph Brown (1907-1994)
SAMUEL JOSEPH BROWN was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, but spent the majority of his life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was employed by the Federal Art Project from 1933-1935. His painting “So Tired” (later renamed “The Scrub Woman,” now lost, but reproduced in Locke’s “The Negro in Art”) caught the attention of Eleanor Roosevelt when it was shown at the Corcoran Gallery in 1934 as part of a national exhibition that featured works from the Federal Art Project. Brown painted numerous works while employed by the project and participated in many exhibitions during the 1930s, gaining attention in particular for “The Lynching” (PMA). In 1939, his portrait of “Mrs. Simmons” was the only work by an African American included in the Paris exhibition entitled “New Horizons in American Art,” organized by the Museum of Modern Art. In 1946 his posters promoting racial harmony and world peace were purchased by Eleanor Roosevelt and donated to the Hyde Park (NY) Elementary School, resulting in a sponsorship that enabled Brown to distribute the posters to schools in Pennsylvania; Maryland; Washington, D.C.; New Jersey; and New York. Brown’s painting travels included trips to Nassau (1938), Mexico (1945), England, and Greece. After his retirement in 1971, he painted portraits of many of Philadelphia’s African-American leaders and educators.
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