Byron Browne’s received his formal artistic training at the National Academy of Design from 1924-1928. In 1927 he and his friend Arshile Gorky visited Albert E. Gallatin’s Gallery of Living Art, where they saw works by Picasso, Braque, and Miró. Stimulated from what he saw there, Browne began to study Cahiers d’Art, the French magazine devoted to progressive European art. As he experimented with Cubism, Browne’s conviction that abstraction represented the future of art grew. His complete break from traditional art is perhaps best expressed in his decision to destroy his early representational work.
By 1930, the direction of Browne’s work was clearly established. By the mid-1930s, he found work and support within the Works Progress Administration Mural Division, as Burgoyne Diller, the Division’s head, began to advocate and organize on behalf of abstract artists. Browne became a founding member of the American Abstract Artists.
According to Byron Browne, the roots of abstraction could be found in the natural world, and as such, abstraction could not be separated from life itself. He saw abstraction as an extension of the physical world rather than generated by spiritualism. The distinction was an important one to Browne, who had little tolerance for the mysticism that Hilla Rebay and others believed to be at the foundation of abstraction…
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