Jean Brown (December 20, 1911 – May 1, 1994) was born in Brooklyn, New York, and is best known for her work as a librarian and art collector . Her papers were acquired by the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, California, in 1985.
Brown worked as a librarian. She lived in Massachusetts. Her home in Tyringham, MA, became a meeting place for Fluxus artists. The Shaker Seed, as it was called, was an 1845 Shaker house.
Brown collected art with her husband Leonard Brown (1909–1970). They began collecting Abstract Expressionism, but turned to Dada and Surrealism when AbEx became too expensive. Brown collected 6,000 artworks by Fluxus, beginning in the 1970s.
Brown's collecting developed in parallel to her friendships with artists. Duchamp visited the Browns at their home. She cultivated a lifelong friendship with George Maciunas, from whom she purchased Fluxus artworks. Brown commissioned Maciunas to design a room in her house to house her Fluxus collection.
In addition to Fluxus, Brown collected Surrealism, Dada, and post-war art. Brown's collection was the first collection of contemporary art by the Getty. It was acquired for its strengths in Dada and Surrealism; the Fluxus materials and artists' books were an unexpected acquisition.
- Biographical/Historical note, Jean Brown Papers, 1916-1995 (bulk 1958-1985). Los Angeles, Calif.: Research Library, Getty Research Institute. Completed May 1997, revised Sep 2008.
- Smith, Roberta (May 4, 1994). Jean Brown, 13, Avid Collector Of Dada, Surrealism and Fluxus. The New York Times. Accessed January 2014.
- Chernick, Karen (2020-12-28). "The Insurance Saleswoman Who Built a World-Class Collection of Fluxus Art". Artsy. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
- "Getty: Resources for Visual Art and Cultural Heritage". www.getty.edu. Retrieved 2021-12-21.
- "Visiting the 'Den Mother' of Fluxus Art". www.getty.edu. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
Finding Aid for the Jean Brown Papers, 1916-1995 (bulk 1958-1985) at the Getty Research Institute. It includes a biographical/ historical section.