James Roger Brown was born in Alabama. During his lifetime Brown was recognized for his significant contributions to the history of Chicago art and to Twentieth Century American art, through his distinctive, original artistic vision. In 1962 he moved to Chicago. In 1968 Brown received his BFA and in 1970 he was awarded his MFA, both from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During this time Brown was engaged in the emergence of an energetic environment of art-making in Chicago which became known as Chicago Imagism. Works by Roger Brown and a number of fellow students were initially recognized and supported by curator Donald L. Baum, who organized a series of exhibitions at the Hyde Park Art Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art. In 1970 art dealer Phyllis Kind first exhibited Brown's work, beginning their strong relationship as the exclusive representative and ardent supporter of his work for his entire career. His work was shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the country and abroad. Major retrospectives of his work were mounted at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in 1980, and at The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. in 1987.