A Cozy Corner

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John George Brown (American, 1831–1913)
A Cozy Corner, ca. 1885–87
Oil on canvas
26 3/16 × 20 1/8 in. (66.52 × 51.12 cm)
Layton Art Collection Inc., Gift of Frederick Layton L1888.27
Photo credit: P. Richard Eells
Currently on View

J. G. Brown's paintings of street urchins such as bootblacks and fruit vendors were often reproduced in popular newspapers and magazines. They were also well liked by wealthy patrons, including Milwaukee-based businessman, collector, and philanthropist Frederick Layton, who originally purchased this painting. Rather than focus on the brutal realities of child labor, Brown’s images reinforce the moral virtues of chivalry, community mindedness, and the intrepid independence associated with the capitalist self help gospel. These moral characteristics were in line with the popular youth oriented novels of Horatio Alger (1832–1899), and served, however unstably, as both a comfort to the middle class and as a lesson and rebuke to the working class.

Publication History
Eastberg, John C. and Eric Vogel. Layton’s Legacy: A Historic American Art Collection 1888–2013. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Layton Art Collection, Inc., 2013, pp. 12–13, 457, color illus. p. 13.

Milwaukee Art Museum. 1888: Frederick Layton and His World. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1988, p. 40–1, cat. 2, b/w illus. p. 41.

Layton Art Gallery. Catalogue of the Layton Art Gallery. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Layton Art Gallery, 1921, p. 33, cat. 61. (as A Cosey Corner)

Pattison, James William. The Layton Art Gallery of Milwaukee. Brush and Pencil 3, no. 4 (January 1899): 206.

Smith, Francis Hopkinson. Essays on American Art and Artists. Chicago: American Art League, 1896, illus. p. 225. (title as A Loving Corner)
Exhibition History
1888: Frederick Layton and His World, Milwaukee Art Museum, April 8–August 28, 1988.

A Century of Caring, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 18–August 3, 1986.

Rogers Memorial Hospital, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, 1939–1959.


This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.