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Bohemian Artist and Pop Culture Icon

A child of the Midwest whose life was forged by World War II, Theophilus Brown conveys a lifetime of experience through his art. Often overshadowed by his contemporaries Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Nathan Oliveira, Paul Wonner, and Elmer Bischoff, Theophilus Brown is a central figure in California painting and the Bay Area Figurative Movement—a movement that put West Coast art on the map. His incredible story deserves to be told, and that’s why we’ve created “Theophilus.”


Theophilus gives us rare access to a world nearly lost to us now. As John Arthur, his biographer, said, “Too much of his rich personal history and the numerous delightful and vivid details about his friends and associates—many of them key figures in the arts and literature of the twentieth century—will simply disappear, and this will be a loss to the intellectually and cultural history of our time.”

Join us for a peek behind the canvas and discover his adventures with his fellow artists—including luminaries such as Picasso, DeKooning, O’Keefe, Thiebaud, Rothko, Giacometti, Balthus, and many more. Learn about how his friends Christopher Isherwood, Eva Marie Saint, Andre Previn, and the Stravinskys shaped the course of his life and his art.

William Theophilus

We Need Your Support

My name is Allen Wood, and I am the director of “Theophilus,” an homage to the artist William Theophilus Brown. My life has forever been enriched by the time I spent with William “Bill” Theophilus Brown, so I wanted to make this film to tell the remarkable story of his life, preserve his legacy, and share his great gifts as a raconteur, artist, and inspiring individual.


With generous donations from supporters like you, the film is now complete.  Next, we need to complete our original goal of sharing Bill's story with as many people as possible.  We are now raising funds to enter "Theophilus" into film festivals, publicize the film and to seek distribution.  Please help us complete this journey.

Don’t let Theophilus’ amazing story disappear—please donate today and help us bring this important film to life. 

Please Note:

The “Theophilus” documentary is a 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations are tax deductible.

The Backstory

When I met Bill, he was 84 years old, and within just five minutes, I knew he was the most interesting person I had ever met: a consummate storyteller, artist, and bohemian who served in Europe during World War II, as well as a gay man who had been with his partner, Paul Wonner, for more than 50 years.


Eager to learn more about his fascinating life and the pivotal role he played in the Bay Area Figurative Movement, I asked Bill and Paul to dinner one night—and that began a monthly get together for dinner or a museum visit. Each time we got together, he regaled my husband and me with fascinating tales that featured a vast array of pop-cultural icons such as Christopher Isherwood, Don Bachardy, Eva Marie Saint, Andre Previn, Igor and Vera Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, Elaine and Willem DeKooning, Georgia O’Keefe, Truman Capote, Marlene Dietrich, and Richard Diebenkorn, to name just a few.


These stories ignited my desire to share more of Bill’s life and legacy with the world. We knew these tales and Bill’s contribution to art world needed to be preserved and shared, so we began shooting this film in 2011, when Bill was 92. While he passed away in 2012, we have continued to work faithfully to tell his remarkable story and bring this film to life.


Now, we need your help to preserve and share Bill’s story and his important role in making art history. Please donate what you can today.

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