Hilton Brown, American (1938 - )
Hilton Brown, painter, educator, author, and gay rights advocate was born in
1938 in Momence, Illinois. He earned a professional diploma (1962) in painting
and drawing, and the BFA (1963) and MFA (1964) in painting, drawing,
printmaking, and art history from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He
studied with painters Elmer Bischoff, Alex Katz, Henry Varnum Poor, among
others, and art historians Kathleen Blacksheer, Robert Pincus-Witten and
Whitney Halsted. Before art school, Brown studied theatrical design at the
Goodman Theatre and School of Drama of the Art Institute of Chicago (1956-58).
He studied liberal arts at the Universities of Chicago and Illinois (1959-62).
Additional study took place at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts (1957), the
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine (Summers, 1960 and
1961), Maryland Institute College of Art (1975), University of Delaware (1980),
and independently in Europe. Brown was the recipient of the George T. and
Isabelle Brown Foreign Traveling Fellowship in Painting and the Ponte del'Arte
Prize for Travel from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1962). He
received the Leopold Schepp Foundation Fellowship for graduate study (1963).
Hilton Brown has been exhibiting his paintings, drawings, and prints
since 1958. He has had 24 one-person shows, and his work has been included in
over 132 invitational and juried group shows throughout the United States,
Canada, and Europe. His artwork may be found in the permanent collections of
the Baltimore Museum of Art; the University of Maryland, College Park; Ball
State University, Muncie, IN; Goucher College, Baltimore, MD; Macomb County
Community College, Detroit, MI; among many other institutional and private
collections in this country and abroad.
He has been the recipient of a number of awards for his artwork from such
institutions as the City Art Museum, St. Louis; the Art Institute of Chicago; and
the Baltimore Museum of Art, among others. Brown has executed murals in
Baltimore having received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts
and the Baltimore Civic Design Commission.
Hilton Brown has taught the visual arts at the following institutions: the
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1962-65); the School of Fine Arts at
Washington University, St. Louis, MO (1965-68); Goucher College, Baltimore,
MD (1968-1978), where he was also Chairman of the Department of Visual Arts;
and at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE (1974-present), where he was
Visiting Associate Professor of Art History (1974-78), acting associate director of
the Art Conservation Program (1979-81), and the Ralph and Bena Mayer
Professor of Artists' Techniques (1984-88). In 1992, he was appointed the first
Harriet T. Baily Professor of Art, Art Conservation, Art History and Museum
Studies. From 1980 through 1995 Brown was the coordinator and advisor for the
B.S. program in Art Conservation. He was Coordinator of the Ralph Mayer
Center for Artists' Techniques when the center was located at Delaware (1984-
88). Hilton Brown has lectured and presented seminars and workshops about
artists' materials and techniques at universities and museums around the
country. Between 1990 and 2000 he was a consultant to the Education
Department of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where he
presented annual lectures, demonstrations, and workshops for the National
Teacher Institute and to the docent staff.
As a writer Brown has had over 76 articles and a monograph published.
He was a contributing editor of American Artist (1980-87) writing a column
"Looking at Paintings with Hilton Brown". As a specialist in the history of
artist's materials and techniques, Brown worked on the papers of the late Ralph
Mayer, America's foremost writer on the techniques of art and presented papers
on Mayer's contribution to this field for American Institute for Conservation
(AIC) in Baltimore (1983) and Los Angeles (1984). As coordinator of the Mayer
Center, he compiled and edited two artists' materials data files: "The Mayer
Center Artists' Materials Pigment Data File" and "The Mayer Center Artists'
Materials Acrylic Polymer Emulsion Paint Data File." For ten years, working as
co-curator/co-author with Richard J. Boyle, Professor of Art History at Temple
University and former director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts,
Brown organized the exhibition "Milk and Eggs: the American Revival ofTempera Painting, 1930-1950" held in the spring of 2002 at the Brandywine River
Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Following its debut in Chadds Ford, this
exhibition traveled to the Akron Museum of Art in Ohio and to the Spencer
Museum of Art at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. The exhibition was
accompanied by a 232 page catalog/book distributed by the University of
Washington Press, Seattle. Hilton Brown has also written articles about gay art
and artists as well as reviews of the visual arts in Baltimore for The Gay Paper, a
newspaper published by the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore
(1980-89) and for Gladnews, the former newsletter of the Gay and Lesbian
Alliance of Delaware (GLAD).
Brown was actively involved as an artist member of the Artists' Paints
and Related Materials Subcommittee DO1.57 of the American Society for Testing
and Materials (ASTM) (1979-1989). This committee, composed of artists,
scientists, and manufacturers, has been writing voluntary standards on the
labeling of artist's paints for chemical composition, lightfastness, and potential
health hazards. Brown was chair of two task groups of this ASTM D-1
Subcommittee, the .07 Task Group on Physical Properties and the .10 Task Group
on Consumer Evaluation (1984-89).
As a painter and teacher of color he was an active member of the Inter-
Society Color Council (ISCC) (1982-89). He served as a member of the ISCC
Board of Directors (1985-89) and as the national representative of National
Artists Equity Association (NAEA) to the Inter-Society Color Council (1985-89).
Brown was chair of the ISCC Project Committee 37 on artist's materials (1985-
In the museum field, Hilton Brown was a member of the Contemporary
Art Accessions Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Baltimore Museum of
Art (1968-78). During that time he was also Director of Exhibitions and curator
of the Rosenberg Gallery at Goucher College. He has also worked as guest
curator or consultant for several shows for the University Gallery at the
University of Delaware. He worked as the technical co-curator for a show of
American tempera painting (ca. 1930-1950) for the Brandywine River Museum.
As an openly gay man Brown has been active as an advocate for the
human rights of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. At the University of Delaware, he
was a member of the President’s Commission to Promote Racial and Cultural
Diversity from 1993 to 2000, a founding member in 1992 and co-chair of the Lesbian Gay and Bisexual and Transgendered Caucus, a member of the Benefits
for Domestic Partners Committee, 1994-95, a founding member of Out\Right
(1992) and Lavender Scholars (1993), two groups of gay and lesbian University
faculty, staff and graduate students and faculty advisor for Queer Campus, a
student group (1992-95). He was on the Board of Directors of the Gay and
Lesbian Alliance of Delaware and served as secretary as well as chair of the
Education Committee of the Delaware Coalition for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual
For a number of years Hilton Brown was an associate member of the
American Institute for Conservation, a member of the International Institute for
Conservation and Artists Equity. He is currently a member of the College
Art Association and the American Association of the University Professors.
Hilton Brown is listed in the following publications: Who’s Who in
America, Who's Who in American Art, International Directory of Arts,
International Who's Who in Art and Antiques, and Who's Who in the East,
Who's Who is American Education, among others.