Skip to main content

Oral history interview with Joan Brown, 1975 July 1-September 9

Brown, Joan, 1938-1990

Painter, Educator


Collection Information

Size: 152 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 4 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 12 min.

Summary: An interview of Joan Brown conducted 1975 July 1-September 9, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art.
Brown speaks of her family background, childhood, and Catholic education; the influence of Egyptian art, Francis Bacon, Willem De Kooning, and others; her instructors at the California School of Fine Arts including Dorr Bothwell and Elmer Nelson Bischoff; her trips to Europe; abstract expressionism, figurative painting, funk art and regionalism; San Francisco's painters, poets and musicians in the late 1950s; women as professional artists; and her imagery. She recalls Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wally Hedrick, George Herms, Edward Kienholz, Michael McClure, Manuel Neri, George W. Staempfli, and others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Joan Brown (1938-1990) is a painter from San Francisco, California. Studied at the California School of Fine Arts 1955-1960 under Elmer Bischoff and others.


These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

Language Note

English .


Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.

How to Use This Collection

Transcript: 35mm microfilm reel 3196 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Transcript: Patrons must use microfilm copy.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Joan Brown, 1975 July 1-September 9. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.