Lilli's autobiographical comments ...
The portrait I painted for the Library honoring Mr. DeLaMare was commissioned by J.S. Livermore. For this I had to rely on some small photos and comments about this gentleman who was held in such great esteem by his family and friends. I am not an alumna of the University, but have joined my husband, Dr. A.A. Brant, in designing and furnishing the Lilli Brant Reading Room in the DeLaMare Library.
The French occupation during World War I prompted my family to emigrate from the Palatinate to the U.S. in 1926. We made our home in Baltimore, Maryland, at the age of nineteen, I graduated from the Maryland Institute of Fine Arts and was awarded the First Prize, the Henry Walters European Traveling Scholarship. After graduation I traveled in Europe and, thanks to other scholarships (Scholarship of the States Academy of Munich, Bavaria; Scholarship Pfaiz, Bavaria; Scholarship State Academy of Berlin), did my postgraduate work in Munich and Berlin.
On my return to the U.S. in 1937, I began to specialize in portrait painting. My first significant commission came from Georgia Foster, a patron of the arts in Baltimore, who commissioned me (then I was known as Lilli Umbach) to paint five portraits - four of her grandchildren - and one of herself. During that period I painted many portraits of children. I have worked in numerous media (employing chiefly watercolor, oil, charcoal and conte) and created landscapes and sculpture in addition to all the portraits.
Professor Arthur Brant and I were married in 1940 in the Chapel at Princeton University, and shortly thereafter moved to Toronto, Canada. In 1950 we moved to Clarkdale, Arizona and I had a studio in Jerome, which is now the Douglas Museum. I later opened a gallery and studio on the main street in Jerome and was instrumental in founding and serving as President for an art group named Verdi Valley Artists, Inc.
In 1957 we moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, and in 1978 we retired to Tucson, Arizona.
My art hangs in the Douglas Museum, Columbia University, University of Toronto, University of Nevada, and in private collections worldwide.
The reading room is a reflection of my interests in art and travel. I am not an anthropologist, but if I weren't an artist, perhaps I would have studied anthropology.
- The artifacts and Moroccan rugs were collected on our travels all over the wood, and were donated to the Library by Arthur and myself.
- The two ebony busts are from Africa and the carved panel plaque with its offset heads of African men is from Tsumeb in Southwest Africa.
- There is a large carved mask from New Guinea.
- Several of the paintings done by me were inspired by our travels, as well.
- The Canyon was painted while on a trip to Japan and it was inspired by scenery near the Takao Shrine.
- The paintings of the two African Herrero women were painted during our stay in Southwest Africa.
- The Bird Mine is an oil painting of a landscape in Colorado.
- Esperance Bay is a watercolor that I painted while on a hike in western Australia.
- The other paintings are a self portrait and a portrait of Arthur.