Francis Focer Brown Biography

Francis Focer Brown




Painter and printmaker Francis Focer Brown was born in Glassboro, New Jersey, on January 19, 1891. His family relocated to Muncie, Indiana, when he was a child and early lessons in painting began while he was still in high school, taking private courses with J. Ottis Adams at the Hermitage in Brookville. Following graduation Brown enrolled at the John Herron Art Institute (now the Herron School of Art and Design) in Indianapolis, studying under Hoosier Group artist William Forsyth. After graduation in 1916 he took various teaching positions, including at and Earlham College and Ball State Teachers College (now University) before earning his MFA at Ohio State University. He married fellow artist and student of Forsyth Beulah Hazelrigg in 1916. 

Brown's style took root in Impressionism, and over time developed hallmarks of Fauvism and Expressionism. Overall, his subject matter illuminated his surroundings, and he focused on the landscapes of Indiana, even as he began to delve into the nearly Abstract with compositions executed in suggestion, rather than outright representation, of subjects. He worked in oil, watercolor, and tempera paints as well as monotypes. Though he explored these Modern genres and techniques, he avoided the Social Realism and political overtones that many of his contemporaries sought to engage in over the tumultuous, changing tides of the early 20th century. He became a quintessential Hoosier artist whose works were an homage to a place he greatly cared for. He portrayed Indiana's landscapes, architecture, and industrial scenes, as well as marine art, portraits, and still lifes. 

In 1925 the Browns moved from Richmond to Muncie, where they set up a studio on their property and continued both to teach and work as artists. 
Brown began a prolific exhibition career, including at his studio, in Hoosier Salons, and at various shows at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Indiana Arts Club, as well as with the Western Art Association, the Richmod Group, and more. Francis Brown's career as a teacher at Ball State became permanent, and he remained there until 1957, when he retired as Professor Emeritus. 

After retirement in 1957, Brown continued to work from his home studio. He died on April 14, 1971.