standing blonde little girl with green eyes, wearing a pink dress with white polka dots, pink hair ribbon, white socks with pink trim, and red shoes, and holds a purple flower in her PR hand; girl has blank facial expression; girl stands in front of a wall mural with a blue and yellow dragon against a red ground with glitter highlights against a red ground with bold black Chinese characters; shiny black floor

© The Joan Brown Estate

Portrait of a Girl, 1971

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Joan Brown was one of the most confident self-portraitists of her generation. A virtuoso painter who moved fluidly from abstraction in the late 1950s through clean crisp large-scale self images in the 1980s, she tirelessly brought forth aspects of her persona and personal life in painting. An inventive colorist and surprising composer her work is an assertive integration of identity, belief and vulnerability. Portrait of a Girl is among her most startling and engaging self-portraits, a memory picture, allegorical and enigmatic. It was painted based on two photographs of Brown as a child. The Chinese dragon screen that looms behind her is based on a black and white illustration in a book Brown owned. In both her image and the screen she took liberties, reimagined them and presented them new in the composition together to establish a tension between two elements that provokes the viewer to muse on meaning.

Details
Title
Portrait of a Girl
Artist Life
1938 - 1990
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2018.21
Curator Approved

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standing blonde little girl with green eyes, wearing a pink dress with white polka dots, pink hair ribbon, white socks with pink trim, and red shoes, and holds a purple flower in her PR hand; girl has blank facial expression; girl stands in front of a wall mural with a blue and yellow dragon against a red ground with glitter highlights against a red ground with bold black Chinese characters; shiny black floor

© The Joan Brown Estate

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