Master Shots: Bruce Brown

Collector Bruce Brown in his own words and as researched by Sharon Kitchens

Little Calf Island, 2000, by Gifford Ewing (Sorrento)

I’m a Portland native. I came to take art seriously with (my) first purchase of a painting by Stephen Etnier of South Harpswell seen while I was gathering information on Maine artists to include in an introduction to art and music appreciation through the English Department at Freeport High School in the mid-70s.  It was the pivotal moment in my life – and completely without reason – but I began to build a modest Maine art collection on a school teacher’s budget ($10,000 a year salary at the time). Within 3 years (I was) introduced to contemporary American prints following visits to Boston galleries.

*Since retiring from a 30-year career in education, Brown has focused on collecting Maine photography and curated more than 45 photo shows about Maine photography.  His own art collection has exhibited at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) and the Colby College Museum of Art. From 1987 – 2006 Brown was the curator at Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA).

Most recently, Brown organized Photographing Maine: 10 Years Later at CMCA, a show that pays homage to Photographing Maine: 1840-2000, a two-part show he also curated that displayed the work of 120 photographers at the CMCA in 2000.  Among the 150 Maine photographers whose images of Maine are featured in the current exhibition are Paul Caponigro, Tillman Crane, John Goodman, Tonee Harbert, Kris Larson, Jonathan Levitt, Joyce Tenneson, and Shoshannah White.

Red Pear, 2008, by Fran Vita-Taylor (Portland)

Utopian Tattoo, 2008, by David Wade (Portland)