Frazier, Barbara Brown


August 30, 1914 / Sept. 10, 1988

Eleven days after her 74th birthday, and a year after her last solo gallery show in the AAN's Little Gallery on Nantucket, artist Barbara Brown Frazier died on September 10, 1988 -- in her home at 30 Pleasant Street, Nantucket.  

         Barbara grew up in Amesbury (Massachusetts) and made a reputation young as a portrait artist who'd studied in New York with Dmitri Romanovsky and in Rockport with Emile Albert Gruppé.  She married Stuart Frazier from the neighboring town of West Newbury, and after Stuart spent World War Two as a part of the American contingent to the Ultra Project, the team that that cracked the German codes in Bletchley, England, they settled in Townsend, Massachusetts, near Fort Devens (Ayer, MA) where he taught cryptology and code-breaking as a civilian.  Barbara served as the town librarian for some years, single-handedly changing the library over to the dewey decimal system, and moved to Nantucket after Stuart's death in 1966. Here she turned to a second career in art, painting landscapes in acrylic that spanned two decades, some of that under the tutelage of Philip Hicken from his studio on Pine Street. She was valued member of the Artists' Association of Nantucket from 1970 to 1988. She was especially proud that she had fostered the creative drive in all three children that followed her to the island.

         She is buried at Prospect Hill Cemetary in Amesbury, Massachusetts.


As a teen, Frazier studied portraiture and anatomy under Dimitri Romanowsky at the Art Students League (Russian/American, 1887-1971) in New York City and landscapes with Emile A. Gruppé (1896-1978) in Rockport, MA. She also attended the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida.

After raising a family in mainland Massachusetts, she moved to Pleasant Street in 1974 and joined the AAN. She began a second. renewed career that spanned two decades under the tutelage of Philip Burnham Hicken and included five solo exhibitions at the AAN's The Little Gallery — the last in 1988.

Her son Douglas was the AAN president for one year from 1976-1977; her son Robert was the AAN president for five years from 1999-2004.