Gerald L. Brockhurst

Dates1890 - 1978
BornBirmingham, England
DiedFranklin Lakes, New Jersey, United States

After attending the Birmingham School of Art, Gerald L. Brockhurst entered the Royal Academy Schools in London, where he received the Gold Medal and Traveling Scholarship in 1913. The award allowed him to visit Paris and Italy, where he studied works by early Italian painters. Piero della Francesca and Leonardo da Vinci remained important influences. From 1915 to 1919, Brockhurst lived in Ireland, where he met painter Augustus John, whose painting style was influenced by contemporary French art's simplicity of color and forms. In 1919 Brockhurst returned to England for his first significant gallery exhibition. During the 1920s Brockhurst became an etcher, focusing primarily on female portraits and using his wife as his model. Coolness, technical perfection, and overt classicism mark both his printmaking style and his painting manner. By 1930 Brockhurst had returned to painting with a new teenage model, Dorette Woodard, whom he later married. His haunting portraits of her opened the door to fame and fortune, and he became a fashionable portrait painter; his stated goal was to capturing appearance, not character. His sitters included J. Paul Getty, Marlene Dietrich, and the Duchess of Windsor. In 1939, at the height of his success, Brockhurst settled in the United States.