Matilda Browne

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Matilta Browne
Matilta Browne 1894 age 25.jpg
Matilda Browne 1894 age 25
Born(1869-05-08)May 8, 1869
DiedNovember 3, 1947(1947-11-03) (aged 78)
Known forPainting
Spouse(s)Frederick Van Wyck
AwardsDodge Prize

Matilda Browne (May 8, 1869 – November 3, 1947)[1] was an American Impressionist artist noted for her flower paintings and her farm and cattle scenes. Born in Newark, New Jersey, she was a child prodigy who received early art training from her artist-neighbor, Thomas Moran.

Matilda Browne was active in Greenwich, Connecticut, New York City, and Old Lyme, Connecticut, where she was affiliated with the art colony centered at the Florence Griswold home. She was the only woman at the Old Lyme Colony who was taken seriously as a painter by her male colleagues, and she was considered an important member of the Old Lyme group.


As a child in Newark, New Jersey, Browne lived next door to the artist Thomas Moran famous for his landscapes and particularly for his large paintings of Yellowstone National Park. He allowed his 9-year old neighbor into his studio to watch him work before inviting her to experiment with paint, brushes and canvas on her own. Her natural talent was obvious. He encouraged her to take additional art lessons, and by age 12 one of her paintings of flowers was accepted into an exhibition at the National Academy of Design in New York.[1][2]

She soon became interested in painting farm animals and traveled with her mother to Europe in 1889 to study with animal painters in France and the Netherlands. Browne studied under a series of accomplished tutors—Eleanor and Kate Greatorex (1854–1917, 1851–1913), Frederick Freer (1849–1908), Charles Melville Dewey (1849–1937), Julien Dupré (1851–1910) in Barbizon, and Henry Bisbing (1849–1933) in the Netherlands.[1][2][3]

After returning from Europe in the early 1890s, Browne returned to New York and began to exhibit in the metropolitan area.[4] Most significantly, given her fondness for animal painting, she studied with Carleton Wiggins (1848–1932), a well known landscape and cattle painter.[3] Browneexhibited her work at the Palace of Fine Arts at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.[5]

She worked in Greenwich, Connecticut, working at Cos Cob, Connecticut, in the late 1890s, and on and off throughout her career; she worked in Old Lyme, Connecticut from 1905–06 and periodically from 1911-24. Wiggins may have introduced her to the Florence Griswold boardinghouse in Old Lyme. Browne later rented a house on Lyme Street in the center of the village, believed to be shown in the background of In the Garden (1915).[6]

In 1905, when she first visited Old Lyme at the age of 36, she had already won a number of awards and established a critical reputation. The other artists at the Griswold boardinghouse asked Matilda Browne to paint on a door and she contributed a pair of panels on the door leading to Miss Florence’s bedroom titled Bucolic Landscape, forming a scene of calves grazing beneath a tree. She was also the only woman to be included in The Fox Chase mural about the art colony that Henry Rankin Poore was painting over the dining room fireplace. These were extraordinary honors, since this all-male colony generally looked down on female artists – as most obviously illustrated by Willard Metcalf who painted one young woman art student unsympathetically as Poor Little Bloticelli (1907).[1][7][8]

In 1918 Matilda Browne became the second wife of Frederick Van Wyck.[9][3] She and her husband lived at his home on 142 E. 18th St, Manhattan, New York.[9] In 1932 her illustrations were published in her husband’s book, Recollections of an Old New Yorker.[10][11]

After Frederick Van Wyck's death on February 16, 1936,[9] Matilda Browne returned to Greenwich to live.[12] Matilda Browne died in Greenwich, Connecticut on November 3, 1947 at the age of 78.[13][14][12]


  • Dodge Prize (National Academy of Design, 1889)
  • Third Hallgarten Prize (National Academy of Design, 1901)
  • Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts Award (1918, 1919)
  • Greenwich Art Association (prize, 1929)


  1. ^ a b c d Old Lyme, the American Barbizon. Old Lyme, Connecticut: Lyme Historical Society, Florence Griswold Museum. 1982.
  2. ^ a b Comstock, Helen (1923). "Matilda Browne". International Studio. New York Offices of the International Studio. 78 (320–325): 27–29.
  3. ^ a b c Lampos, Jim; Pearson, Michaelle (2015). Remarkable Women of Old Lyme. Charleston, SC: The History Press. pp. 40–42. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Matilda Browne (1869 - 1947)". The Cooley Gallery. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  5. ^ Nichols, K. L. "Women's Art at the World's Columbian Fair & Exposition, Chicago 1893". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Matilda Browne". Florence Griswold Museum. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Matilda Browne, Just One of the Boy Artists". New England Historical Society. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  8. ^ Cooley, Jeffrey W. (1993). Fine American Paintings. Old Lyme, CT: The Cooley Gallery. pp. 58–59.
  9. ^ a b c "Old New Yorker, Dies in 83d Year". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn, New York. February 17, 1936. p. 13. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  10. ^ Currie, George (December 18, 1932). "Pigs in Street, Dust in Milk But Frederick Van Wyck Recalls That Little Old New York Was Filled With Fascination, None the Less". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn, New York. p. 84. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  11. ^ Van Wyck, Frederick (1932). Recollections of an old New Yorker. New York: Liveright.
  12. ^ a b Semmes, Anne W. (April 2, 2017). "Art Historian Susan Larkin Brings Neglected Painter To Life". The Greenwich Sentinel. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Mrs. Matilda Browne van WycK, 78..." Hartford Courant from Hartford, Connecticut. November 4, 1947. p. 4. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Mrs. Frederick Van Wyck Obituary". The New York Times. November 4, 1947.

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