Collection 1980s–Present

Vivian Browne. Little Men #7. 1967 253

Acrylic on paper, 23 3/4 × 17 1/8" (60.3 × 43.5 cm). Acquired through the generosity of Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis

Vivian Browne: I came to a period when I couldn't paint at all. I just stopped dead still. And I finally realized that there were some things in my life that I had always tried to skirt over, but that I couldn't overlook them anymore. One was the fact of being a female in a male society, and the other, was my difficulty with men, beginning with my father.

So I did sketch after sketch of my feelings on those subjects. And after a while, I began painting again, and many of the thoughts I had about my father and my relationship with him, all of that came out on canvas.

The paintings of the men are pictures of people who are afraid. First of all, they are afraid. Secondly, they are not strong enough. But I think that since the paintings show people not at their best and often at their worst, it's hard to look at.

When I'm confronted by people who can't deal with it—on one hand, I'm sorry that they can't. Because once you see and you feel this kind of thing, then basically, you know more about yourself. And you can relate to people a little better. And I think that, as a painting, that's what it should do. It should help you to do those things.