• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE4842

Brown, Jan

(1922 – )
  • Born 1 January, 1922, Sydney New South Wales Australia
  • Occupation Artist, Sculptor, Teacher


Jan Brown is a distinguished Canberra artist whose work has been exhibited in Canberra since the 1960s and whose public art installations include Kangaroos in Commonwealth Park and the Icarus group of sculptures in Petrie Plaza in Canberra. She taught sculpture and drawing for over forty years at the Canberra Technical College and the Canberra School of Art.


Jan Brown was born in Sydney in 1922. She initially studied art at the East Sydney Technical College as an evening student then moved to London in 1947 and was awarded a National Diploma in Design (Sculpture) in 1949 from the Chelsea Polytechnic School of Art in London, where she studied under Henry Moore.

From 1957, she taught at the Canberra Technical College, and then the Canberra School of Art which is now part of the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Australian National University, until 2001. In this role she was an inspirational teacher and mentor to many young artists, particularly in drawing and sculpture.

Jan’s work is inspired by nature and by local Canberra birdlife in particular. Her work has been exhibited in Canberra since the 1960s including at the Macquarie Galleries, the Drill Hall Gallery and Beaver Galleries, and is included in important national collections such as the National Gallery of Australia, Artbank, the National Library of Australia, the Australian National University Art Collection, the Canberra Museum and Gallery and at Parliament House in Canberra. Two major ‘public art’ installations are in Canberra: the life-size bronze Kangaroos near Nerang Pool in Commonwealth Park (1980) and the Icarus group of sculptures in Petrie Plaza, Civic (2009). A retrospective exhibition of her work, Jan Brown: Sculptures, prints and drawings, 1948-2007, was held at the Canberra Museum and Gallery in 2008.

She has also served on arts advisory boards such as the ACT Arts Development Board (1986-1991), and was Deputy Chair of the Australian National Capital Artists (ANCA) Steering Committee (1989-1993) and Chair of the Visual Arts subcommittee of the ACT Cultural Council (1992-1994). She received the Visual Arts Emeritus Award from the Australian Council and was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1992.

The Jan Brown Drawing Prize offered by the ANU School of Art is awarded annually to celebrate her role as a teacher at the School.


Published resources

Archival resources

  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Edmund and Joanna Capon Research Library
    • [Jan Brown: Australian Art and Artists file]

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