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Roger Brown Study Collection, "Artists' Museum of Chicago"


"...I feel the things in the collection are of universal appeal to all artists and people with a sense of the spiritual & mystical nature that material things can evoke." Roger Brown, 1941-1997

Established in 1997, the Roger Brown Study Collection (RBSC) is an artists’ study collection and archive, preserved intact in a historic house museum setting. Located off campus in artist and SAIC alumnus Roger Brown’s former home, an 1888 storefront building at 1926 North Halsted Street, the RBSC is an intimate collection with an astonishing range of objects, including works by Chicago Imagists and other contemporary artists, self-taught artists, folk and tribal art from many cultures, objects from material and popular culture, costumes, textiles, furniture, travel souvenirs, and other things Brown surrounded himself with for artistic inspiration.

A peek into the collection:

The RBSC archive is a comprehensive collection of the artist’s personal and working life, and includes Brown’s sketchbooks, library, slides and photographs, personal and professional correspondence, writings, architectural drawings, studies for large-scale projects, and prints and works on paper. The collection is installed as Brown left it, throughout the second floor of the building and two stairways; the archive is on the first floor. Click here for a peek at RBSC archival materials.

A peek at RBSC archival materials:

This unique SAIC resource presents a fundamental aspect of Chicago’s art history through Brown’s kaleidoscopic, interdisciplinary collection of art. Brown intended this generous gift to function as a creative and intellectual springboard for successive generations of artists and others, who can enjoy and learn from the range of things he found fascinating. Of equal importance, Brown presented a model for an artist’s home, passing along by example the essential fact that artists require personal working environments that are continually stimulating and that feed and support the demanding work of being an artist.

The RBSC reflects Brown’s essentially democratic conviction that works of art from many cultures and genres be presented in an environment devoid of academic and economic hierarchies, where they can be appreciated as equal in value, on their own merits. With Brown’s Ford Mustang in the garage, a gift shop in the dishwasher, and with much of the work of the collection implemented by students, the RBSC seeks to lead the genre of “house museum” into the 21st century.


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