Christopher Brown

Christopher Brown

Artist Statement

Part of what any artist is trying to do is to create a situation in a painting that is revealing and mysterious at the same time as a metaphor for the curiosity that leads one to make a picture in the first place.

At age 42, painter Christopher Brown resigned as the chairman of the department of art practice at UC Berkeley because he wanted more insecurity. Now 59, he teaches one day a week at the California College of the Arts.

Click on artwork to view details.


Christopher Brown


Born               Camp Lejeune, North Carolina


Education       University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, B.A. 1972

                        University of California, Davis, M.F.A. 1976


Teaching Experience

2001-02           California College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco, CA-
                        visiting artist
                        San Francisco Art Institute- instructor

1981-94           University of California, Berkeley- professor and chair(1990-94)

1999                Southern Methodist University- Meadows Visiting Professor

1980                University of Virginia, Charlottesville- visiting professor

1976-79           American River Junior College, Sacramento- instructor

Recent Visiting Artist Lectures and Residencies

2001                Kansas City International Airport
                        California College of Arts and Crafts

2000                Oxbow School- May
                        New York Studio School- March
                        Vermont Studio School, Johnson, VT- June 1-8
                        UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA- September
                        CCAC- October
                        Clatsop Community College- Astoria, OR November 6-10,
                        California Polytechnic Institute, San Luis Obispo, CA- November 16-17
                        S.F. Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA-- December 15

Honors and Awards

1988                American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Art

1987                National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Painting

1986                Award in the Visual Arts given by the Equitable and Rockefeller
                        Foundations with partial support from the National Endowment
                        for the Arts

1985                Eureka Fellowship, The Mortimer Fleischacker Foundation,
                        San Francisco, CA

1984                Regents Junior Faculty Fellowship, University of California,

1981                National Endowment for the Arts Special Projects Grant in Art Criticism

1979                National endowment for the Arts Special Projects Grant in Art Criticism

1978-79           DAAD Grant : guest artist Affiliation with the Academy of Art In Munich

1974-75           Mary C. McLellan Scholarship for independent study and travel in Europe

1973-76           Regents Fellowship, University of California, Davis

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2006                John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2005                Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, CA

2004                Friesen Gallery, "Rail Variations", Sun Valley, ID
                        Paulson Press, Berkeley, California
                        John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2002                John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2001                Byron Cohen Gallery, Kansas City, MO

2000                Friesen Gallery, Seattle, WA (catalog)

1999                Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA

1998                Edward Thorp Gallery, New York, NY

                        Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1997                Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Christopher Brown: Works on Paper Minneapolis, MN
                        Pasadena City College Art Gallery, Pasadena, CA
                        Huntington Museum, "Christopher Brown: Paintings" Huntington, WVA

1996                Crown Point Press, "Christopher Brown: Prints 1991-1995" San Francisco
                        University of Illinois I Space Gallery, "The Birder's Log", Chicago, IL
                        Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California, "Christopher Brown: Works on Paper"  Los Angeles, CA
                        Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, "Recent Paintings and Related Prints" San Francisco, CA

1995                Edward Thorp Gallery, New York, NY
                        Palo Alto Cultural Center "Christopher Brown: Works on Paper"
                        Palo Alto, CA (catalog)
                        Museum of Modern Art of Fort Worth "History and Memory: Paintings by Christopher Brown" Fort Worth, TX (catalog).
                        Also traveled to: San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
                        Museum of Contemporary Art, Honolulu, HI
                        Palm Springs Desert Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA
                        Norton Gallery of Art, Palm Beach, FL

1994                Zolla-Lieberman Gallery, "Christopher Brown: New Paintings" Chicago, IL

1993                Yellowstone Art Center "Christopher Brown: Works on Paper" Billings, MT
                        Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco, CA
                        Arlene Lewellen Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico

1992                Edward Thorp Gallery 'Christopher Brown: New Paintings'
                        New York, NY
                        Linda Farris Gallery "Christopher Brown: New Pastels" Seattle, WA

1990                Gallery Paule Anglim Christopher Brown "New Paintings"
                        San Francisco, CA (catalog)
                        Center for Research in Contemporary Art, "Christopher Brown:The Water Paintings".  University of Texas at Arlington (catalog)
                        Also traveled to: de Saisset Museum, University of Santa Clara,
                        Santa Clara, CA, Richard H. Reynolds Gallery, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA

1988                Gallery Paule Anglim, "Christopher Brown: New Paintings"
                        San Francisco, CA

1987                Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angles, CA
                        Zolla-Lieberman Gallery, Chicago, CA

1985-86           Madison Art Center "The Painted Room" Madison, WI, also
                        Traveled to: Matrix Gallery, University of California, Berkeley
                        Zolla-Lieberman Gallery, Chicago, IL
                        University Art Museum, Santa Barbara, CA
                        Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
                        University of California, Irvine, CA

1985                Dart Gallery, Chicago, IL
                        Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, CA
                        Matrix Gallery, University of California, Berkeley, CA

1984                Art Gallery, Shasta College, Redding CA

1983                Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, CA

1982                American River College Art Gallery, Sacramento, CA

1980                Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, CA
                        Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville, CA

1979                de Saisset Art Gallery, Santa Clara, CA
                        Loeb Rhodes Market Hours Gallery, San Francisco, CA
                        Artist's Contemporary Gallery, Sacramento, CA

1977                Gallery Paule Anglim "Introductions CE77" San Francisco, CA

Selected Group Exhibitions


2014                Friesen Gallery, Sun Valley, Idaho

2005                "Artists and Mentors" Sonoma Valley Museum, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco,  CA

2004                Byron Cohen Gallery

2003                John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2002                Friesen Gallery, Sun Valley, Idaho
                        Edward Thorp Gallery, New York, NY


2001                Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francsico, CA
                        Friesen Gallery, Sun Valley, ID
                        San Jose Museum of Art, "Prints from Paulson Press"

2000                San Francisco Museum of Modern Art "The Anderson Collection" San Francisco, CA
                        Achenbach Foundation, California Palace of the Legion of Honor
                        "Prints from the Anderson Collection", San Francisco, CA
                        Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek Art Center , "Abstraction from Raucous to Refined",  Walnut Creek, CA
                        Palo Alto Art Center "The Great Novel Exhibition" Palo Alto, CA

1999                Campbell-Thiebaud Galley, San Francisco
                        Edward Thorp Gallery, New York, NY

1997-98           California Palace of the Legion of Honor,"35 Years at Crown
                        Point Press", San Francisco

1997                Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, "Twenty-five Treasures"
                        Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco
                        University of San Diego Art Gallery, "Seduced Surface:Eight Bay Area Painters" San Diego, CA

1996                Friesen Gallery, "Celebrating Ten Years" Ketchum, ID

1995                Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, "Manuel Neri/ Christopher Brown" San Francisco, CA

1993                Crown Point Press, "Bay Area Tradition: Robert Bechtle,
                        Christopher Brown, Wayne Thiebaud" San Francisco, CA
                        Nohra Haime Gallery, "Intuitive Perception" New York, NY
                        Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

1992                Richard Levy Gallery, 'New Work by Four Artists: Christopher
                        Brown, John Baldessari, Vija Celmins, Clinton Adams"
                        Albuquerque, NM
                        National Institute for Art and Disabilities, "Martin Mullen,
                        Christopher Brown", Richmond, CA

1990                Shea and Becker Gallery "In the Realm of the Plausible"
                        (curated by John Yau, catalog) New York, NY

1989-90           Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, "10 10: Contemporary Soviet and American Painters"  Fort Worth, TX, traveled to:
                        San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
                        Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
                        Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
                        Artist's Hall of the Tretyakov Embankment, Moscow
                        Tsentralnyi Zal Khoudoshnikov, Tbilisi
                        Tsentralnyi Zystnavochnyi Zai, Leningrad

1989                Blum Helman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
                        Robert Else Gallery, Sacramento State University
                        "Substance/Surface" Sacramento State , CA
                        Cumberland Gallery, "Contemporary Landscape" Nashville, TN
                        Steven Wirtz Gallery, "Prints from the Experimental Workshop"
                        San Francisco, CA
                        University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
                        Chicago International Arts Exposition, Chicago, IL
                        Fay Gold Gallery, "Drew Beattie, Christopher Brown, Squeak Carnwath, Deborah Oropallo" Atlanta, GA
                        Oakland Museum, "Diamonds Are Forever: Artists and Writers on Baseball' Oakland, CA

1988                American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, Award
                        Exhibition, New York, NY

1987                Janet Steinberg Gallery, "Bay Area Artist's Small Works Invitational", San Francisco, CA
                        Fuller-Goldeen Gallery, "The Importance of Drawing' San Francisco
                        Grey Art Gallery, "Awards in the Visual Arts #6", New York, NY,
                        Traveled to:
                        Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH
                        Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA
                        Portland Center for the Visual Arts, "Undercurrents" Portland, OR

1986                Newport Harbor Art Museum "The Second Newport Biennial: The Bay Area" Newport Beach, CA
                        Humbolt State University Art Gallery, "New Painterly Figuration in the Bay Area" Arcata, CA, traveled to:
                        San Francisco Art institute, San Francisco, CA
                        Richmond Art Center, "New Romantics" Richmond, CA
                        Chicago International Art Exposition, Chicago,IL
                        Linda Farris Gallery, "Currents" Seattle, WA
                        William Sawyer Gallery, "American Realism" San Francisco, CA
                        Zolla-Lieberman Gallery "New Works on Paper", Chicago, IL


1985                Works Gallery, "New Romantic Landscape", Long Beach, CA
                        Worth Ryder Art Gallery, "Faculty Exhibition" University of
                        California, Berkeley
                        Dart Gallery, "Summer Show" Chicago, IL
                        Asher/Faure Gallery, "New Work" Los Angeles, CA
                        Coe Kerr Gallery "Bathers" New York, NY
                        Bluxome Gallery "California:Twenty Artists" San Francisco, CA
                        San Jose institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA
                        De Saisset Museum, "Bon a Tirer: Selected Prints from Bay Area Presses" University of Santa Clara, CA
                        Kirk deGooyer Gallery, "Dealer's Choice" Los Angeles, CA

1982                San Francisco Museum of Modern Art "Fresh Paint: Fifteen
                        California Painters" San Francisco, CA

1981                Shasta College, Redding, CA

1980                University of Virginia "Faculty Exhibition" Charlottesville,VA
                        Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville, VA

1979                Oakland Museum "New Images, Bay Area" Oakland, CA

Selected Public Collections

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California
Johnson County Community College Art Gallery, Overland Park, KS
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
Achenbach Collection of Prints and Drawings, California Palace of the Legion
of Honor, San Francisco, CA
San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
Palm Springs Desert Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, NH
M.H.deYoung Memorial Museum, San Francisco, CA
Bank of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
University Art Museum, Berkeley, CA
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NB
Redding Museum, Redding, CA
Bank of America, San Francisco, CA
Security Pacific National Bank, San Francisco, CA
Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, NY
Coca Cola Corporation, Atlanta, GA
Rosenburg Capital Management, San Francisco, CA
Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner &Smith, Inc. Los Angeles, CA
Hughes Air West, Los Angeles, CA
Prudential Insurance Co. of America, MN, CA & NJ
New York Public Library
Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, NY
Rayovac Corporation, Madison, WI


Albright, Thomas, "Fresh Paint", Artnews, September, 1982
Boettiger, Susan, "Fresh Paint, New Fingerprints", San Francisco Chronicle, June 27, 1982
Kelley, Jeff, "Christopher Brown", Arts, September, 1980
Fischer, Hal, "Christopher Brown", Artforum, February, 1980
"Introductions", San Francisco Examiner, July 14, 1977
Tamblyn, Christine, "Christopher Brown", Artnews, November, 1991
Moser, Charlotte, "Ambivalence Toward Painting", Artweek, Sept. 27, 1990
Bonetti, David, "The Elements of Fine Painting", San Francisco Examiner, September 8, 1990
Jan, Alfred, "Christopher Brown", Flash Art, January-February, 1988
Berkson, Bill, "Christopher Brown", Artforum, January, 1988
Baker, Kenneth, "Christopher Brown, San Francisco Chronicle", October 23,1987
Baker, Kenneth, "A Bay Area Biennial", San Francisco Chronicle, November 9, 1986
Branson, Jamie, "Autobiographical Landscapes", Artweek, November 23, 1985
Albright, Thomas, "Christopher Brown", Artnews, May, 1985
Albright, Thomas, "Christopher Brown", Artnews, May, 1983
Baker, Kenneth, San Francisco Chronicle, Review, April 24, 2004. E10
Nahas, Dominique, "Christopher Brown at Edward Thorp Gallery", Review, June 1, 1998, pp. 11-12
Ollman, Leah, "Christopher Brown at San Jose Museum of Art and Palo Alto Cultural Center", Art News, October 1995, p. 155
Smith, Roberta. Review. The New York Times, June 2, 1995
Whiting, Sam. "Brushing up on History" San Francisco Chronicle, May 6, 1995.
Baker, Kenneth, "Christopher Brown's Paintings", San Francisco Chronicle, October 21, 1993
Tromble, Meredith, "Christopher Brown", San Francisco Focus, September, 1993
Johnson, Ken, "Christopher Brown at Edward Thorp", Art in America, November, 1992, p. 139
De Vuono, Frances, "Christopher Brown", Artnews, March, 1992, p.139

News and Press



There isn’t a single painting by Christopher Brown that does not at some point lead viewers to ask: What are we looking at?


Is it the ability of the mind to plunge into doubt even as it is driven to piece together a convincing experiential whole?  Or the ability of painting to offer irresistible images that challenge the legitimacy of an irresistible image?  Or the difficulties of painting in an age characterized far more by analysis than by the kind of faith that made painting an essential part of Western culture? 


Why does Brown’s work generate so many questions?  His paintings turn and spin in many directions at once.  But they may also have the stillness of summer noon or a winter night.  They are seductive and social even as they maintain a reality independent of us and independent of what the images represent. Something in them, perhaps a soft, warm light, or the playfulness of lines and forms, reaches out to us.  But the paintings have an inviolable restraint.  They never seem to look at us, or face us.  While appealing to us, they remain private. 


Brown’s painting is a world of profound gravity and unstoppable drift in which identity, memory and history are being formed and unformed at every moment, and everyone is both dreaming a narrative and an actor in someone’s else’s dream.  For Brown, truth does not have to do with capturing a person, or even an event, or an image, or time, but on the contrary, with unpacking images stored in photography, film and painting and letting questions tumble out of them so that the dizzying complexity of history and memory will spread itself out on the canvas.  Brown is not interested in the essence of an event.  He wants to make it possible to feel and consider the ways events are lived and remembered. 




- Michael Brenson