Irby Brown (1928-2016)
Growing up in Paris, Texas, northeast of Dallas, Irby Brown knew from a very early age that he wanted to become an artist. He received his first commission to paint a landscape from a local shop owner when he was thirteen years old. The experience solidified his resolve to make painting his life’s work. After graduating from high school, Irby served in the Army and then studied with Olin Travis for three and one-half years at the Art Institute in Dallas.
Brown’s strongest influences were the French Impressionists, whose works he experienced in person for the first time at the Dallas Museum of Art. Brown was struck by the juxtapositions of warm against cool colors, the spontaneity of brush strokes, the primacy of light, and the fact that most of the artists painted en plein air. Brown painted outdoors much of the time until his death in 2016.
Early in his career, Brown sold his work in Dallas galleries and taught art classes in his studio. An important relationship with an enthusiastic collector developed over time and had a great influence on Brown’s professional trajectory. Al Wadle, a stockbroker living in Florida, bought two pieces of Irby's from a gallery in Ruidoso, New Mexico. After moving to Dallas, Wadle’s wife Alice took a class from Irby. Al Wadle soon purchased a gallery in Santa Fe and asked Brown if he would be interested in exhibiting with him. Brown's work found a ready audience among the many collectors who formed relationships with the new gallery, enabling Irby to have a successful full-time career in fine-art painting. The exclusive arrangement to exhibit with Wadle lasted over 30 years, ending only after the gallery closed.
Irby Brown and his wife Patricia lived in Santa Fe for 36 years, having fallen in love with the beauty and breathtaking vistas of New Mexico. Although Irby is particularly well known for his snow scenes, he loved all the seasons and painted year round. "I'd rather paint here than anywhere in the world" he said. "The reward of a painter is the gratification and joy you get from working outdoors and completing a successful painting."
Irby Brown was welcomed to exclusive New Mexico representation by Ventana Fine Art in 2014. A book was published on the artist in 2015 titled "Irby Brown Southwest Landscape Paintings" authored by Richard Brunson. It is 200 pages with 116 color illustrations.