Frances Brand

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Frances Brand. Photo credit: Charlottesville Woman

Frances Brand (1901-1990) was a local artist whose most-celebrated work was a collection of portraits called "Firsts" - images of local people who were pioneers in a field or endeavor[1].


Born in 1901 in New York, Frances married a military man with whom she had two children. At the age of 41, she joined the army where she spent a 10 year career as a liaison (particularly in Germany working with children affected by the Nazi regime), ultimately becoming an army major. Upon her retirement, she studied art at Mexico City College (now the University of Mexico) for five years[2]. Her collection of "Firsts" reflects the influence of the Mexican folk painting she studied[3].


The "Firsts" were painted between 1974-78 and include 157 portraits (although some may be part of her "modern madonna" series). The subjects are "people that Mrs. Brand had met and befriended in Charlottesville or Albemarle County, people whose strength of character she admired." [4] Many of her portraits were of notable women in the community or of civil rights leaders. Subjects include Nancy O'Brien, the first woman mayor of Charlottesville, Cornelia Johnson, the city's first female African-American police officer, and Jill Rinehart, the first woman elected to city council[5]. The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society owns the collection[6].


"Firsts" Portrait subjects and their contributions to the Charlottesville-Albemarle community:

[4]

Color

Frances Brand was known as "The Purple Lady" due to her habit, in later years, of dressing in head-to-toe purple[7]. Her house in Charlottesville, which is now the Frances Brand Gallery, was painted purple by her granddaughter in her memory[8].

Map

Location of Frances Brand's house and gallery[9].


External Links

Interview with Frances Brand about her interactions with civil rights leaders, provided by the University of Virginia Library

References

  1. Web. Remarkable "firsts" in Charlottesville, Loco History, July 27, 2008, retrieved January 26, 2012.
  2. Web. [ Our Firsts, Great and Small], Aleta Burchyski, Charlottesville Woman, March 1, 2011, retrieved January 26, 2012.
  3. Web. Online Exhibit: France Brand Collection Exhibit, Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, retrieved January 26, 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Web. Online Exhibit: Frances Brand Collection, Part One Exhibit, Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, retrieved 15 Feb 2012.
  5. Web. Purple Gain: France Brand's house gets painted, Maxey Hackworth, The Hook, January 30, 2003, retrieved January 26, 2012.
  6. Web. Online Exhibit: France Brand Collection Exhibit, Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, retrieved January 26, 2012.
  7. Web. [ Our Firsts, Great and Small], Aleta Burchyski, Charlottesville Woman, March 1, 2011, retrieved January 26, 2012.
  8. Web. Purple Gain: France Brand's house gets painted, Maxey Hackworth, The Hook, January 30, 2003, retrieved January 26, 2012.
  9. Web. Frances Brand Galleries, Museums USA, June 23, 2011, retrieved January 26, 2012.