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Camden New Journal - OBITUARY
Published: 31 May 2007

Kathleen Browne
Artist famed for her sympathetic portraits

KATHLEEN Browne, who has died aged 101, will be remembered by friends not only for her skill as an art teacher but for her prodigious talent as an artist.
Kathleen was born in New Zealand in 1905. Her mother was an opera singer and her father a journalist.
After completing an art course at Canterbury College in Christchurch she taught art in New Zealand through the 1920s before heading to London in 1932. She enrolled at Chelsea School of Art, honing her skills in life and portrait art, etching and engraving.
During the war she took up teaching posts at a number of schools and the Royal Holloway College, as well as working for the BBC. She nearly lost an eye while helping fight a blaze, caused by a German bomb, on the roof of a friend’s house.
She married fellow artist Marian Kratochwil in 1961. He helped her run her Chelsea art school and accompanied her on many trips abroad, where they painted and visited art galleries.
Kathleen’s early influences included Rembrandt, who, her husband said, she fell in love with. “Her early etchings were influenced by that master,” he wrote in a book about her life. “Her fellow students used to call her ‘Mrs Rembrandt’.”
Among her pupils was a young Joan Collins, and she had a picture by the actress hanging in her studio.
Kathleen became known for her portraits, which were always full of warmth for the subject. Her husband added: “Kathleen always liked people, especially the young and the old, and this sympathy shines out from her portraits.”
In 1979, Kathleen packed up her easels at the Chelsea school and retired. She moved to Hampstead and concentrated on her own pieces, including a series of portraits, and exhibitions.
In her later years she became a popular resident at Compton Lodge, a care home in Swiss Cottage. She died on May 14.
Author and biographer Tim Jeal, a pupil of Kathleen’s, writes: “She was a gifted teacher and many students stayed on at her school for many years and became lifelong friends.
“In the mid-1990s Kathleen began to lose her sight – a terrible misfortune for an artist – but she never expressed bitterness or self-pity, remaining serene and generous-hearted to the end.”

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