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Benjamin Brown studied art and photography in St. Louis as a young man and made a living from portraits in both mediums. A sketching tour to Southern California in 1885 introduced Brown to the charms of the region, but it was not until ten years later that he moved to Pasadena for good. By then he had taken a year of art study at the Academy Julian in Paris. Around the turn of the century, Brown started painting brilliant, high-keyed landscapes depicting scenes near Pasadena. He became an important member of the burgeoning art world of Pasadena and Los Angeles, respected for his etchings as well as his easel paintings.