Grafton Tyler Brown (American/Canadian 1841-1918)
Thunder Storm on Shuswap Lake, B.C. September 28, 1882
oil on canvas, signed and dated lower left "G.T.Brown 1882", painted from sketches in oil made on the spot by Grafton Tyler, while he served as expedition artist for the Amos Bowman Geological Survey in British Columbia. Number 15 from the 1883 exhibition "Thunder storm on Shuswap Lake, B.C., Sunlight breaking through on the afternoon of September 28, 1882"
Provenance: 1883 Exhibition #15 "British Columbia Scenery Fine Oil Paintings of Scenes on Mainland and Island"Grafton Tyler Brown served as expedition artist for the Amos Bowman Geological Survey in British Columbia. The purpose of this survey was to map and record the wilderness east of the Cascade Mountains along the Fraser River. Brown completed a series of 22 paintings in 1883 based on sketches from this trip, which were then exhibited in June of that year in Victoria, BC at the new Colonist Buildings. This painting is most likely number 15 in the exhibition and depicts a thunder storm on Shuswap Lake, B.C., "Sunlight breaking through on the afternoon of September 28, 1882". G.T. Brown is considered the first African American artist to have created works depicting California and the Pacific Northwest.
Size: 15 ¾ x 26 in (with frame 24" x 33 ¼ in)
604 736 8825 or 1 800 730 8825
Grafton Tyler Brown was born on February 22, 1841 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was an illustrator, painter and lithographer and is known as the first African American artist to depict California and the Pacific Northwest.
Brown’s father was a freedman and was involved in the abolitionist movement. At fourteen years of age, Brown began working as a printer and learning lithography. He moved to San Francisco in 1855 and worked for the Kuchel & Dresel Company which specialized in lithographic views of mining scenes and Californian towns. He also produced most of the pictures for The Illustrated History of San Mateo County.
In 1861, Brown began his own lithography business, G.T. Brown & Co. and it remained active until 1879 when he sold the business. During this time, he created The Illustrated History of San Francisco, which contained seventy-two topographical images of the city. His works often depicted settlements, property sales, claims and city boundaries in the Bay Area and Nevada Territory.
In 1881, he moved to Victoria, British Columbia as a member of the Amos Bowman Geological Survey where he served as the expedition artist. The project was organized by the Canadian Government to map and record the natural landscape east of the Cascade Mountains along the Fraser River. In 1883, Brown exhibited twenty-two works of local landscapes based on the sketches from the Survey, including Thunder Storm on Shuswap Lake, BC and Giant’s Castle Mountain.
In 1884 Brown moved back to the United States and traveled throughout the West Coast including Mt. Rainier, Yosemite and Yellowstone National Park. Brown lived in Portland, Oregon from 1886-89 where he had his own studio. He was also a member of the Portland Art Club. He spent the last 25 years in St. Paul, Minnesota where he worked primarily as a draftsman and civil engineer. Brown passed away in St. Peter on March 2nd, 1918. His works are held in the collections of the Oakland Museum of California, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.