Self-Portrait with Swimming Coach Charlie Sava
- Joan Brown, American, 1938-1990
- Born: San Francisco, CA
- Work Locations: San Francisco, CA
Enamel on canvas
Gift of Polly and Mark Addison
Joan Brown (American). Self-Portrait with Swimming Coach Charlie Sava. 1974. Enamel on canvas. Gift of Polly and Mark Addison. 2005.20.
Dimensionsframe height: 34 1/2 in, 87.6300 cm; frame width: 48 1/2 in, 123.1900 cm
DepartmentModern and Contemporary Art
CollectionModern and Contemporary Art
Dissatisfied with her first abstract paintings, Bay-Area figurative painter Joan Brown stopped painting for five years after teaching for a summer and making collages at the University of Colorado, Boulder with her then-husband, Manuel Neri. Once back in San Francisco, she realized she needed to express herself in more personal terms. Changing both style and subject, she decided to use slick enamel paint, often applied to Masonite, and a more disciplined style that eliminated spatial illusion and seamless modeling. Her subjects included family, friends, and animals—a personal iconography both mundane and significant to her. This double portrait was of special significance to Brown. She had developed a passion for long-distance swimming, with the help of her coach, Charlie Sava, and nearly drowned on her first attempt to reach Alcatraz. (She succeeded on her subsequent attempt.) Her intensity and clarity of purpose is evident in this self-portrait with Mr. Sava.
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