Ramsey County History – Summer 2022: “Bob Brown: ‘Paint What You See'”

Ramsey County History – Summer 2022: “Bob Brown: ‘Paint What You See'”
Paul Nelson

Bob Brown: “Paint What You See”
Author: Paul Nelson

This is the story of a solitary St. Paul resident named Bob Brown. Attempting to make a living in the midst of the Great Depression was difficult, to say the least, but Brown took long walks around the city, returned to his tiny studio, and then painted what he saw— the Cathedral of Saint Paul, Third Street, Central Library, Swede Hollow, and the local bar—a place where Brown spent much of his time when he wasn’t walking or painting. He gained some renown, earning recognition and a little money mostly through local exhibitions, and he found on-again, off-again love in the arms of Minneapolis-based author Meridel LeSueur. Few outside the art world remember Brown, and what became of nearly 300 of his paintings is today a bit of a mystery. Author Paul Nelson, with the help of LeSueur’s youngest daughter, Deborah LeSueur, has pieced together Brown’s story—painting a clearer picture, dispelling myths, and most importantly, sharing images of Brown’s unique work here in Ramsey County History, so that, perhaps, the talented artist will be forgotten no more.
PDF of P. Nelson article