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Biographical Note | A Finding Aid to the Daniel Putnam Brinley and Kathrine Sanger Brinley papers, 1879-1984 | Digitized Collection

Daniel Putnam Brinley and Kathrine Sanger Brinley papers, 1879-1984

Biographical Note

Daniel Putnam Brinley (1879-1963) was a muralist and painter in New York City and New Canaan, Connecticut. Brinley was born in Newport, Rhode Island, and studied from 1900 to 1902 at the Art Student's League under Kenyon Cox and John Henry Twachtman. Influenced by Twachtman, he became an impressionist landscape painter for a time. In 1904, he married his childhood friend, writer Kathrine Gordon Sanger (1877-1966). For the next four years they traveled throughout Europe and lived in Paris, where Brinley studied art independently and became a member of the modernist circle of painters.
In 1908 the Brinleys returned to the United States and Daniel established a studio in New York City. During this period his work was heavily influenced by the modernist movement, with flattened forms and a deeper hued palette. Brinley had his first one-man show at Madison Avenue Galleries in 1910, exhibited at Alfred Stieglitz's gallery at 291, and helped organized the 1913 Armory Show. He was also a founding member of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors and the Grand Central Art Galleries. In 1914 the Brinleys built a home, Datchet House, in New Canaan, Connecticut, and spent part of each year there for the remainder of their lives.
In 1917 Daniel Putnam Brinley trained with the American Expeditionary Forces and went to France as the Director of Decoration for the Foyers Du Soldat (YMCA), remaining there until 1919. After returning to the United States he became a mural painter and received numerous commissions for memorials, office buildings, churches, and public spaces over the next forty years. Perhaps most notable of these commissions was the Liberty War Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, for which Brinley painted 24 decorative maps showing the history of World War I. He remained active in the art community as a member of the Architectural League of New York, the National Academy of Design, and the Silvermine Guild of Artists, among others.
Kathrine Sanger Brinley was a writer and linguist who worked in Europe, New York City, and Connecticut. She lived in Europe from 1904 to 1908 where she studied the arts and crafts of the middle ages and became an expert on English writing and language of the 14th century. She published articles and books on these subjects and during the 1920s had a successful career touring as a dramatic recitalist of the works of Geoffrey Chaucer. From 1934 to 1938 the Brinley's spent their summers traveling throughout Canada, and Kathrine published four travel books which were illustrated by Daniel Putnam Brinley. Kathrine Sanger Brinley published and wrote professionally under the name Gordon Brinley.