Biography of Franklin BROWNELL

Franklin Brownell by Edmond Dyonnet



Peleg Franklin Brownell, born in New Bedford in Massachusetts in 1857 was a painter, draughtsman, watercolourist and muralist. He studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1879 and at the Académie Julian  in Paris in 1880-83.

After spending some time in Montreal, Brownell arrived in Ottawa in 1886 to take up the position of Headmaster of the Ottawa Art School from 1886 to 1900. He accepted the same position between 1900 and 1937 with the Women’s Art Association in Ottawa which changed his name to the Art Association of Ottawa. Brownell painted in the Antilles around 1913 and made numerous painting trips to Gaspé and Gatineau region in Quebec,  in Algonquin Park and in other areas about Ottawa in Ontario.

He died in Ottawa in 1946.



Brownell was a landscape painter, his work being noted for its purity of colour. He painted blue skies, green fields, bright flowers and the sparkling sea.

His groups of nude figures are composed and painted with tender feelings. He was also a portrait painter.



Brownell was elected a member of the ARCA Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1894, the RCA Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1895, the OSA Ontario Society of Artists in 1899-1907 and a founder member of the CAC, Canadian Art Club in Toronto in 1907.

In 1900 he won  a bronze medal at  the Paris exhibition.



He had a retrospective in Ottawa in 1922.



The National Gallery of Canada has over a score of his paintings.


Source: Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Art, Volume one, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1988; Colin S. Macdonald, A dictionary of Canadian artists, Volume 1, Canadian Paperbacks, 1977

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