Friday, March 30, 2012

Camouflage Artist | Paul F. Brown

USS O'Brien in dazzle camouflage (1918)

In an earlier post today, we mentioned our recent discovery that (during World War I) an artist named Follette Isaacson was the chief camoufleur for the Gulf District, including various seaports in Louisiana and Texas. However, a different artist was assigned to oversee the painting of camouflage patterns on ships in the harbor at New Orleans. That person was an American illustrator named Paul F. Brown (1871-1944). Born in Concord NH, he spent most of his adult life working for Boston-area newspapers, including the Boston Record and the Boston Herald-Traveler. His wartime service is confirmed by an obituary in the New York Times (Saturday, December 9, 1944, p. 15), in which it states that "Mr. Brown during the first World War was in charge of the Navy's camouflage division at New Orleans, where he directed the camouflaging of ships." To our knowledge, Brown and his crew of painters did not apply camouflage to the USS O'Brien (pictured above), but it does show the style of the camouflage plans.