He Won't Bite by John George Brown

  • A shoeshine boy and his dog are the subjects of this genre scene by John George Brown
  • Children of the working class were a popular subject of his lighthearted paintings
  • Brown's works are acclaimed for their poignant realism and commentary on Victorian America
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5196

To speak to one of our experts, call 1-888-711-8084

John George Brown
1831-1913 | British-American

He Won't Bite

Signed and dated "Copyright 1909 / J.G. Brown N.A." (lower left)
Oil on canvas

A young shoeshine boy and his best friend, an adorable mutt, are the subjects of this oil on canvas by John George Brown, one of the most successful genre painters of the late 19th century. The artist possessed a particular talent for capturing the innocent personalities of his young subjects, most of whom were among the working class. His paintings of fine-natured, wholesome children of urban America were immensely popular in their day, delighting the public and critics alike. This pair, with their friendly, inquisitive faces, is a quintessential example of the subjects that made him so successful.

Born in Durham, England, in 1831, Brown knew early in life that he wanted to be a painter. His parents, however, had other plans, apprenticing him to a glass cutter when he was just 14 years old. Undaunted, Brown studied art at night, and at the age of 22 he immigrated to the United States, hoping to make a better life for himself. He found a job at a glassworks in New York, and, in 1855, just two years after arriving, he married the owner’s daughter. Recognizing the young artist’s undeniable talent, Brown’s father-in-law provided the financial assistance needed for him to pursue painting as a full-time career.

Brown quickly endeared himself to Americans, becoming the most popular genre painter of his time. While affluent collectors bought his paintings, lithographic reproductions were also available, enhancing both Brown’s popularity and financial success. Brown also served as an influential instructor at the National Academy of Design. Today his work is acclaimed for its poignant realism and its social commentary on a child’s life on the city streets of Victorian America.

Dated 1909

Canvas: 24" high x 17" wide
Frame: 32 3/8" high x 25 1/4" wide
He Won't Bite by John George Brown
Maker: Brown, John George
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: America
Type: Paintings
Depth: 3.5 Inches
Width: 25.25 Inches
Height: 32.38 Inches
Style: Realism
Canvas Width: 17 Inches
Canvas Height: 24 Inches
He Won't Bite by John George Brown
From Sea to Shining Sea: An Exhibition of American Art

One of the greatest qualities of American painting - and ultimately the source of its strength - is its enduring dedication to the nation. A distinctive cultural vision permeates even the earliest paintings of colonial America,...

read more

Recently Viewed

Back to Top
back to top

Shopping Bag

Your shopping bag is currently empty.