Roger Brown's Architectural Path
Brown's life can be viewed in terms of successive regional experiences, where he developed important senses of place that were integral to his evolving artistic identity. Brown's interest in the nexus of objects and places developed into a combined artistic-architectural path in the home/studio/garden/collection environments he created, first in Chicago, then in New Buffalo, Michigan, later in La Conchita, California, and in ambitious plans for future settings, including his final home/studio project planned for Beulah, Alabama. Far from being a series of trophy showplaces, Brown's home environments were both situations for and reflections of an ever-evolving artistic life.
After graduating from high school, Roger Brown moved to Chicago, where he matured as an artist. The city––especially its architecture––provided him with much stimuli and aspects of Chicago were incorporated into his work throughout his career. In many paintings Brown's buildings are personifications of Chicago as a place where anything can, and does, happen.
Roger Brown's Artists' Museum of Chicago
In 1972, while traveling through South Dakota, Roger Brown encountered an unusual building. With ARTISTS MUSEUM emblazoned across the cornice, it was the studio of Bernette G. Pletan, the self-professed "world's fastest scenic painter". It's not known whether Brown met the artist or observed his techniques, but he was struck by the sign across the cornice. Years later (1997) he wrote to the curator of the Roger Brown Study Collection:
"Somewhere among those slides you may come across some pictures of a building in Rosebud South Dakota from 1972. A huge sign across the building proclaims it as Artists Museum-home of the world's fastest painter.
I have often thought of referring to the collection as Artists' Museum of Chicago. Not "Chicago Artists' Museum" but "Artists' Museum of Chicago" because I feel the things in the collection are of universal appeal to all artists and people with a sense of the spiritual and mystical nature that material things can evoke."
In the RBSC archive, incorporation papers dated 1985 were found for the "Artists' Museum of Chicago" indicating that Brown was serious about this idea. The creation of the Roger Brown Study Collection made his dream of an "Artists' Museum of Chicago" come true. You can explore Brown's "Artists' Museum of Chicago" on the Roger Brown Study Collection.
Click on links to the left to see Brown’s home/studio/landscapes in Michigan, California, and Alabama.