Photo cover: Artist Daniel Brewer opened his gallery on 80th & Wornall Rd. this Spring. He stands betweeen paintings of his ancestors: Gabriel Prudhomme (left) one of Kansas City’s first French inhabitants, and the Osage Indians. Photo by Kathy Feist 

Charting Kansas City’s History Through Art

By Paul Edelman

He’s painted picturesque landscapes, jagged Idaho peaks, cascading Colorado mountains and broad Montana valleys, but Kansas City artist Daniel Brewer has a particular passion for painting his home and its history. From his sweeping murals and expressive oil paintings on canvas, Brewer brings Kansas City and the Midwest to life through the paint brush. He recently moved south from the Plaza, and the Martin City Telegraph spoke with him at his new Waldo studio at 8017 Wornall Rd. to inquire about what makes his style and work special.

Brewer’s studio is a virtual museum with him as a tour guide. Here, Brewer points to a picture of the Osage Indians whom he claims kept early KC safe from Indian attacks because of their peaceful relationship with the French fur traders. Photo by Kathy Feist. 

Brewer holds a rare and intimate connection to Kansas City that even few locals can claim. Part of a bloodline that dates back to the area’s earliest days, he descends from Gabriel Prudhomme, one of the first French inhabitants of the land, and the Native Americans who dwelled here centuries before Europeans arrived. Brewer explains that cominingling between French fur traders and local natives was common, and his descent is traced through this line. The paintings adorning his shop recall a time of rustic Kansas City yore, and some portray his ancestors’ contributions to the city’s past. Their role in helping to form this community is a tradition he wishes to continue in the exposition of his work.  

“I want people to draw an appreciation for the history of Kansas City,” he says.

9th and Main St in Kansas City around 1900, looking north toward River Quay.

Speaking of his work, Brewer describes his personal approach as “Loose Realism,” a style somewhere between Impressionism and Literal Realism. He says this entails a sort of ethereal and emotionally expressive technique that remains ultimately grounded in reality. Broad sweeps of the brush showcase simple landscapes and everyday historical cityscapes with a hint of idealism in the colorful, vast beauty of the expanse being painted. This sweeping style lends itself well to large pieces, and he has completed various murals, including a Missouri timeline in Butler, Missouri, a panorama at the courthouse in Harrisonville, and wall art at the Loose Mansion and at both  801 Chophouse restaurants. Brewer started his career painting signs and still offers that option. One of his most widely recognized is the Monogram Whiskey artwork on the side of the vintage Rieger restaurant, 1924 Main St. 

Brewers studio is open to visitors.

Brewer invites anyone wishing to chat with him and see his work to come by his Waldo Studio. His work can also be found on his website, danielbrewsterstudios.com (you just won’t hear the stories that way).  His lineage and passion for history is evident in the pieces, and he prides himself on being a Kansas City artist through and through.

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