Joan Brown (1938-1991)
Joan Brown (1938-1991)

Untitled (Portrait of Jay De Feo)

Joan Brown (1938-1991)
Untitled (Portrait of Jay De Feo)
signed with initials 'JB' (lower left); signed again and dated 'JOAN BROWN 4/58' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.7 cm.)
Painted in 1958.
Ralph Ducasse, San Francisco
John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis
D. Bang, "The Drum of Distant Beats," The Davis Enterprise, 25 September 2003, C1 (illustrated as Portrait of Jay De Feo).
Davis, John Natsoulas Gallery, Beat Generation and Beyond: A Visual History, Volume I, September-October 2003, p. 24 (illustrated as Portrait of Jay De Feo).

Lot Essay

Although she was almost twenty years younger than her peers, Joan Brown began making mature work at a very young age in the late 1950s, of which the present lot is an extraordinary example. Brown studied under many important painters, including Ralph Ducasse who owned this painting for many years. She was also a student of Frank Lobdell and Elmer Bischoff, and her early work shows the latter's influence, but has Brown's own brash color sense and juicy paint handling.
A precocious artist, at the age of nineteen she exhibited at the legendary "6" Gallery, a touchstone for Beat poets and visual artists. She was included in the Young America exhibition at the Whitney in 1960, and in numerous shows at the noted Staempfli Gallery in New York in the early 1960's.
Joan Brown was a neighbor of Jay De Feo at the time, and the painting appears to be a portrait of that legendary San Francisco artist.

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