American School: Mountain Landscape - signed A.Browning
(Alvah Browning -1864-1947)
This original oil painting on canvas measures 25 by 32 inches and sits in an outstanding carved gilt period frame measuring 28 by 35 inches.
The subject is a extensive mountain landscape with towering cliffs and a lake in the foreground. It appears to be located in one of the US National Parks.
It is signed, somewhat illegibly, Browning or A.Browning, in the lower left corner (see closeup photos).
It is in excellent condition with so apparent damage or repairs. There is one small area of the sky where the varnish was applied thickly and has darkened with age (see photo). Not really worth mentioning, but I try to be as accurate as possible.
Alvah Lincoln Browning commonly known as A. L. Browning was born December 4, 1864 in Atwood, Illinois. His parents were farmers but farming did not appeal to him. So at age sixteen, he became a painter. He was self taught.. Sometimes, he said, he'd get hold of paint left in a bucket or swipe dyes from his mother and try his hand at color. He tried to capture frost on the maples and colored rocks in the stream.
Around 1899 Browning was living in Sioux City, Iowa. Shortly after his first son George was born, he divorced his first wife, Dilly. He then travelled west with his nephew, Franklyn Browning. To pay their way, they painted barns. In his spare time Alvah painted and sold landscapes. After some time, Franklyn settled near Witchita, Kansas while Browning continued traveling west.
By 1914 he remarried, and was livoing with his wife and daughter in Denver, Colorado. The McMurtry Paint and Varnish Company of Denver was expanding and was building a new plant. The building boasted two large display windows. It was in one of these windows A. L. Browning would set up his artist studio. Here onlookers could stand outside watching him paint landscapes using McMurtry housepaints. The scenes were numbered with twenty six available titles available for sale to the public. They included Colorado scenes as Seven Falls, Estes Park, Lake Eldora, Big Thompson, and more. There were also scenes from other places he had traveled to through the USA and Europe.
By 1916 he had moved his family to Colorado Springs where his second son, Robert was born. City directories listed his occupation as an artist. Although they first misspelled his name as Alvin. He set up a shop offering paintings for sale and continued working for the McMurtry Paint Company. From spring through summer he painted in Colorado. Then in the fall he traveled by train to Little Rock, Arkansas where he painted landscapes for the Sherwin Williams Paint Company. A small flyer published by Sherwin Williams in 1944 related he had painted for them for over fifty years. While traveling between Colorado and Arkansas he would get out at he train stations. Here he would paint and sell his landscapes. Some who bought his painings remarked on how quickly he could create these paintings. Many paintings have been found at antique shops and second hand stores along this train route.
Browning traveled throughout the United States. He defied anyone to mention a sizable town in America in which he does not know someone. He had traveled in Mexico and Canada. He made three trips to Europe. On one trip he spent two years there painting. "The prettiest scenery you ever saw is the Baverian Alps," he said. One of the scenes listed on his label is titled "Alps in Switzerland."
When he wasn't traveling or painting landscapes Browning taught art classes. One Sherwin Williams ad pointed out that he had given over three thousand instructions.
In 1923 Browning moved his family to Long Beach, California. He continued painting, teaching and travelling. The Treais Hardware Company in San Diego advertised that he would be demonstating the use of Sherwin Williams paints in the store front window. The ad said he would pain...