Born Joan Vivien Beatty February 13th, in San Francisco


Graduates from Presentation High School, San Francisco 


Attends California School of Fine Arts (now SFAI) BFA, 1959; MFA, 1960


Marries William H. Brown, the two live together in the North Beach neighborhood on Filbert Street 


First (two-person) exhibition at 6 Gallery, San Francisco


Moves with William Brown into an apartment at 2330 Fillmore Street in San Francisco, next door to artists Jay DeFeo and Wally Hedrick 

First solo exhibition at Cellar Foyer Gallery, San Francisco

Exhibits in “77th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Association,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


Teaches at Raymond Wilkins High School, San Francisco

Separates from William Brown


First solo exhibition in New York at Staempfli Gallery

Exhibits in “Young America 1960 (Thirty American Painters Under Thirty-Six),” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Featured in September issue of Look Magazine

Teaches at San Francisco Art Institute

First solo exhibition in Los Angeles at David Stuart Gallery


Receives Senator James D. Phelan Award for Painting

Receives Mademoiselle Magazine’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Art

Marries Manuel Neri; birth of son, Noel Neri


Exhibits in Pittsburgh International, Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute

Exhibits at David Stuart Gallery in Los Angeles with Manuel Neri 


Receives Louis Comfort Tiffany Award


“Noel at Table with Vegetables” enters collection of Whitney Museum of American Art

Divorces Manuel Neri


Exhibits in “Funk Art,” University Art Museum, Berkeley


First solo exhibition with Hansen Fuller Gallery, San Francisc0

Marries Gordon Cook


Travels to Jamaica with Cook 

Moves to Snug Harbor, in the Sacramento delta; takes a leave of absence from teaching at SFAI


First solo exhibition with Charles Campbell Gallery, San Francisco

Moves to Rio Vista, also in the Sacramento delta, after Sung Harbor home is flooded 


Teaches at Sacramento State College


Teaches at Academy of Art College, San Francisco


Moves back to San Francisco from Rio Vista to a house in the Diamond Heights district, on Cameo Way 


Exhibits in “1972 Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Painting” at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Begins training with Hall of Fame swimming coach Charlie Sava in San Francisco


“Joan Brown: The Dancer Series,” Walter Gallery, SFAI; essay by Philip Linhares

Visiting Professor of Art, Mills College, Oakland

Receives Adaline Kent Award, SFAI

Participates in first women’s Golden Gate Swim in the San Francisco Bay


Begins teaching at the University of California, Berkeley

Retrospective Exhibition, University Art Museum, Berkeley; catalogue and essay by Brenda Richardson

First solo exhibition at the Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York

Fails to complete the Alcatraz Swim


Completes the Alcatraz Swim; makes cycle of paintings and drawings relating to the experience


Receives NEA Fellowship in painting

Divorces Gordon Cook


Receives Guggenheim Fellowship in painting

First trip to Egypt

“Joan Brown: Drawings,” Nelson Gallery, University of California, Davis

Exhibits in Whitney Biennial

“Joan Brown: Matrix 30,” Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; essay by Andrea Miller-Keller


Participates in New Years Day Alcatraz Swim in San Francisco

“Joan Brown Paintings,” University of Akron and Ohio State University; essay by Dorothy Goldeen

“Joan Brown: The Acrobat Series,” Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach; essay by Betty Turnbull

Travels to Ecuador and joins expedition to the Amazon jungle; visits Machu Picchu

Exhibits in “American Paintings of the 1970’s,” traveling exhibition organized by the Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo


“Joan Brown’s Joan Browns,” San Jose Museum of Art

First trip to China

Exhibits in “Seven on the Figure,” Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia


Receives NEA Fellowship in painting

First trip to India

Exhibits in “Figurative Painting, 1950 – 1980,” Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia

Marries Michael Hebel


Exhibits in “Focus on the Figure”, Whitney Museum of American Art

Exhibits in “74th Annual American Exhibition,” Art Institute of Chicago


“Joan Brown: From the Studio,” Art Gallery, Mills College, Oakland; essay by Charles Shere

Exhibits in the “38th Corcoran Biennial of American Painting,” Washington, DC

Travels to China, India, and visits ancient Mayan sites in Mexico


Exhibits in “The Figurative Mode: Bay Area Figurative Painting, 1956 – 1966,” organized by the Grey Art Gallery, New York University

Travels to India and Mayan sites in Mexico

Completes commission for obelisk at Ocasek State Office Building, Akron, Ohio 


Commission for obelisk at Horton Plaza, San Diego

Sculpture commission for the Performing Arts Garage, San Francisco

Commission for Mattson Junior High School, Kent, Washington

Travels to India, Egypt, Israel, Jordon, Greece, Turkey and visits Mayan sites at Kopan, Honduras and Tikal, Guatemala


Receives an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute

“Joan Brown: The Golden Age,” University Art Gallery, San Diego State University, essay by Mark Levy

Commission for obelisk at The Center, Beverley Hills

Travels to Mexico


Presents paper “Art of Amarna” at conference at the Oriental Institute, University  of Chicago

Commission for an obelisk, Sydney G. Walton Square, San Francisco 

Travels to Mexico and Belize


Commission for Rincon Center, San Francisco

Travels to Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Burma, Thailand and Malaysia


Commission for Ardenfair, Sacramento

Travels to East and West Germany, Italy and India


Exhibits in “Bay Area Figurative Paintings: 1950-1965” organized by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art  (exhibition travels to Hirshhorn Museum, Washington and Pennsylvania Academy, Philadelphia)

Commission for 343 Sansome Venture, San Francisco

Travels to Italy and India

Installs obelisk commission at Eternal Heritage Museum at Sai Baba’s ashram in Prasanthi Nilayam, India. Tragically killed along with two assistants when tower at site collapses