Press Release

Tucson Museum of Art explores the early career of the Chicago-born artist in Harry Brorby: The strength of a cold line.

September 19, 2019

Tucson, AZ – Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (TMA) explores the early career of a prolific Chicago-born artist in Harry Brorby: The strength of a cold line. The exhibition opens with a TMA members preview on October 18, 2019, and will open to the public the following day. It will remain on view in the Lois C. Green Gallery through February 9, 2020.


Harry Brorby: The strength of a cold line. is the artist’s first museum exhibition in the American Southwest in over 20 years. It is organized by the Tucson Museum of Art and curated by Jeremy Mikolajczak, CEO.


The exhibition focuses on Harry Brorby’s early career from the 1940s to 1970s. During this period, Brorby explored various media including painting, printmaking, and sculpture. His work included figurative narrative paintings and prints, primitive constructions, and abstract paintings.


“I’m honored to organize an exhibition of works from a pivotal time in the late Harry Brorby’s career,” Mikolajczak said. “An undervalued artist of the Chicago art scene in the mid-20th century, Brorby captured the urban landscape and explored a new figurative language alongside Leon Golub and Nancy Spero. Brorby was among the early artists of the Monster Roster, a precursory group of the infamous Hairy Who.”


Brorby received his BFA at Harvard University and later his MFA at the University of Iowa, where he studied under influential printmaker Mauricio Lasansky. His work was selected for the Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity at The Art Institute of Chicago eleven times between 1951 and 1971, and he was awarded the coveted Pauline Palmer Prize in 1968 for the painting Yellow Series #7.


In 1971 Brorby relocated from the Midwest to Tucson, AZ. In an interview featured in the December 1974 issue of Art International Brorby said it was “the Arizona landscape, carving out a powerful, vast, three-dimensional statement” that led him to Tucson.


According to Mikolajczak, “With this exhibition TMA continues to recognize our local community of artists, both past and present. Brorby, along with wife Nancy Hardin Brorby, have a history with our museum. It is important for the museum to share the story of Harry Brorby and preserve the legacy of this great artist.”


Brorby’s work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; and The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI.

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