Composing the existing landscapes by idealizing and beautifying them with the magic of self-conceived atmospheric effect, the American landscape painter, George Loring Brown, is remembered for his “styled” landscapes and considered the most celebrated American painter living abroad in the 19th century.
Nicknamed “Claude” Brown for the French landscape painter, Claude Lorraine, whom he admired, Brown was born on February 2, 1814, in Boston. He received his first art-instruction from Alonzo Hartwell, of whom he acquired the rudiments of wood-engraving. Later, he was engaged to illustrate Peter Parley’s books. At the same time, he studied the decorative works of Robert Jones, a pupil of Stanfield, who then happened to be in Boston, and also received some instructions from Washington Allston.
Brown soon went to Europe, residing principally in Italy for years, and except upon occasion of a flying visit, he did not return to America until twenty years later. During the year 1846, while paying a short visit to his home, the artist exhibited, in the city of New York, a “Moonlight View in Venice”, painted for Mr. Geo. Tiffany of Baltimore. This picture was much admired at the time and laid the foundation for his fame in America. Two years later he made a sketching tour along the Rhine and visited Paris again.
In 1854, Brown also executed a series of nine etchings, one of which, “A View near Genzano”. In 1860, he returned to America. He had brought with him an immense collection of drawings, sketches and finished pictures, with which he opened a special exhibition in New York. In 1869, he painted his large picture, “the Bay of New York”, which was acquired by the King Edward VII when visiting America as Prince of Wales.
Brown spent much of his life abroad, and the motives of his pictures are usually Italian, a there is nothing specifically American about them either in treatment or sentiment. Among the best are “Sunset in Genoa” (1875), “Doges’ Palace and Grand Canal”, “Bay of Naples”, and “Niagara Falls in Moonlight”.
George Loring Brown died on June 25, 1889.