Frederick J. Brown's

The Assumption of Mary at Xavier University

by Katheryn Krotzer Laborde


Photographs by
Irving Johnson III
James C. Thiebaud

ISBN: 978-1-883275-22-8

The Library Mural - Assumption of Mary


Let the air rejoice at the Assumption.  Let gentle breezes waft grace.  Let all nature keep the feast of the Mother of God’s Assumption.  May youthful bands applaud and eloquent tongues acclaim her, and wise hearts ponder on the wonder, priests hoary with age gather strength at the sight.  Let all creation emulate heaven, even so the true measure of rejoicing would not be reached
                                                                                                            -St. John Damascus

The Story behind the Painting: Frederick J. Brown’s THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY at Xavier University

by Katheryn Krotzer Laborde


ISBN 978-1-883275-22-8

Xavier Review Press’s newest offering is a book that explores the landmark painting that hangs in Xavier University’s Library Resource Center.  The three-story painting, The Assumption of Mary, is the creation of African American expressionist Frederick J. Brown (1945-2012). The three-story Assumption was painted from 1992 to 1993 in a Lakefront New Orleans warehouse. It was installed in 1993 under the guidance of the artist John T. Scott (1940-2007).

The painting depicts the heavenly assumption of the Virgin Mary, an event that is important to Catholics. 

The book is an oral history that recounts the creation and installation (an operation that was a feat of engineering) of the massive work. In addition, the book identifies the many faces, many of them belonging to African American musicians of the 20th century, which form the painting’s “heavenly choir.”

The book features photos by Irving Johnson III and James C. Thiebaud, not to mention archive photographs.

For more information, or to order, write

Fredrick Brown Norman Francis and Fredrick Brown and the Author Katheryn Labordr

The Choir
The Choir - Key on page 14 of The Story Behind the Painting

Artiest Brown and the Assumptiono of Mary

About the Artist

Frederick James Brown was born in Georgia on February 6, 1945. Like so many African Americans of the time, his family moved to Chicago's South Side and lived in a working-class neighborhood near the steel mills. Brown Corked in the mills, and it was there that he met blues musicians and others who would influence his. artistic vision.

Brown learned the fundamentals of architecture at Chicago's Vocational High School, and later graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 1968 with a B.A. in an and psychology. After working as an assistant instructor of art at the University Brown followed the success of his first one-man show by moving to New York and establishing a studio in the Soho neighborhood of New York.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

He traveled extensively and showed his work throughout Europe and in China. He held one-man exhibits in major cities throughout the United States, His work can be viewed in many museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and it is part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the White House.