Cecily Brown

Renowned for her large-scale, expressive paintings, London-born female artist Cecily Brown’s art explores abstraction and figuration, often engaging with art historical motifs and popular culture.

Brown graduated from Slade School of Fine Art in the early 1990s before moving to New York, where she continues to live and work today. Her art revitalised the theme of the figure in stark contrast to the conceptual Young British Art movement which prevailed in Britain throughout that decade. While her early work is overtly figurative and often highly eroticised, her later works evolved towards more ambiguous abstraction.

Cecily Brown’s practice encompasses thick lush paint in which faces and bodies dissolve into masses, alluding to a sense of cognitive space within a vivid, energetic canvas. Her rich application of paint emphasises fleshiness and movement, recalling techniques used by the Abstract Expressionists. The bodily-charged abstractions of Willem de Kooning, who once remarked that ‘flesh is the reason oil paint was invented’, continue to be a vital influence for Brown. Her own raw, gestural approach to painting also recalls the meaty, sometimes violent masterpieces of Francis Bacon and Chaïm Soutine. The dynamism and vigour which characterises her work signify the amalgamation between painting and its process, and the importance of the ‘physical’ within her art.

Brown also seeks inspiration from Old Masters such as Brueghel, Rubens and El Greco, as well as 17th-century Flemish still-life painters. She has explored themes of hunting, human conflict and the relationship between youth and death. Her acclaimed exhibition held at Blenheim Palace in 2020 both challenged and paid tribute to the art of the past, critiquing notions of power through subversive visions of Britain’s history.

Brown’s large-scale paintings continue to command millions at auction and are widely exhibited internationally, making her one of the most celebrated female painters today.

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

Untitled (The Beautiful and Damned)

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Carnival and Lent

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

The Girl Who Had Everything

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

Make it Rain

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

I Will Not Paint Any More Boring Leaves (2)

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

There’ll be bluebirds

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

Kiss Me Stupid

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Night Passage

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

Figures in a Garden

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

The Sick Leaves

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

The Homecoming

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Bedlam Vacation

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Blonde Eating Birds

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Girl Trouble

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Lady with a Little Dog

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

Twenty Million Sweethearts

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Untitled (Yellow)

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

Ha Ha Fresh!

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Berserkers (2)

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

Untitled (#45)

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

You Can't Make This Up

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Red Painting 1

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Eyes Wide Shut

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Way Beyond Compare

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

The Park in the Dark

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Figures in a Garden #1

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

Skulldiver 2

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

As Like As Like Can Be

CECILY BROWN (B. 1969)

The querulous mew

Cecily Brown (b. 1969)

The Wanton Boy