Lillian Browse

(1906—2005) art dealer and art historian

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British art historian, dealer, collector, and exhibition organizer. She trained as a ballet dancer, but gave up this career in 1931 and from then until 1939 worked for the Leger Galleries, one of the leading London dealers in Old Masters and British watercolours. During the Second World War she organized exhibitions for several institutions, most notably the National Gallery, where they complemented the famous wartime recitals given by the pianist Dame Myra Hess (the first exhibition was ‘British Painting Since Whistler’, which opened in March 1940). In 1945 she went into partnership with two German-born dealers, Henry Roland (1907–93) and Gustav Delbanco (1903–97), to found the firm of Roland, Browse & Delbanco, which ran a gallery in Cork Street, London, dealing mainly in British figurative painters. Among the artists it helped to establish were Prunella Clough, Bernard Dunstan, Joan Eardley, and Josef Herman. The firm was renamed Browse & Darby in 1977 and its gallery still operates in Cork Street under this name. Browse wrote several books, including Augustus John Drawings (1941), Degas Dancers (1949), Forain, the Painter (1978), and two monographs on Sickert (1943 and 1960; she also organized the Sickert exhibition commemorating the centenary of his birth at the Tate Gallery, London, in 1960). She made an impressive art collection of her own, consisting mainly of British and French painting and sculpture of the late 19th and 20th centuries. In 1983 she presented most of it to the Courtauld Institute of Art. She published her autobiography, Duchess of Cork Street, in 1999.

From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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