Today's blog comes from Candace Weir, Central Library staff:
It has been a good week for the art lover at the library. A treasure trove of new books on artists has arrived. In particular, one book has really grabbed my attention. It is a tribute to Colleen Browning.
As in my previous blog on the surrealist women artists in Mexico, I have more reason to rejoice in the publishers who are now making books about important, but little-known work. Colleen Browning: The Enchantment of Realism celebrates a woman whose paintings have been neglected for many years.
Born in England at the end of the First World War into a military family, she came to the United States in 1949 to marry an American author and scholar. Having survived the blitz in England as a young woman, she resolved that her art would be harmonious and free from fear. “It bears pointing out that choosing to accentuate the positive is a courageous, rather than a naïve choice, as art critics sometimes claim. Browning deliberately banished nightmares from her images – not mystery.”
She had considerable acclaim as a young woman before realism was upstaged by abstract expressionism on the art scene. As an artist, she continued to follow her vision and paid dearly for it in terms of her career. Her work was largely forgotten or dismissed as being sentimental.
To my mind, her compositions are very strong and in line with her mastery of the figure. A meander through the pages of this book left me with strong admiration for this artist and her commitment to figurative work.