Wendell Brazeau grew up in the "art-impoverished" city of Spokane, Washington, where he was born in 1910. He moved to Seattle in 1928 to enroll in the University of Washington, graduating with a BFA in art in 1933. Brazeau worked a number of odd jobs afterwards, including a stint at Boeing during the war drawing 3-D perspectives from engineers' plans. Following the war he returned to UW to complete his MFA, and remained there as a faculty member in the Art Department until his death in 1974.
Brazeau exhibited frequently in the northwest and California. His work, influenced by his studies and experience with illustration, was often geometrical with repeated shapes and bright colors. He was also influenced by the European painters of the time; e.g., many of his abstract paintings have a Klee-like quality, and his figures are often drawn in a cubist style using simple lines or curves.
Brazeau's paintings can be found in the collections of the Seattle Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. The Seattle Art Museum held a solo exhibition of Brazeau's work in 1957.
One of Brazeau's colorful works, the 1949 oil painting Three Wise Men, can be found on the 6th floor of the Allen Center. This painting was included in the 1974 exhibition "Art of the Pacific Northwest: From the 1930s to the Present" organized by the National Collection of Art of the Smithsonian Institution. It was also chosen for the 1976 Brazeau retrospective organized by the Washington State University Museum of Art.
Wendell Brazeau:A Search for Form, by Spencer Moseley and Millard B. Rogers. University of Washington Press, 1977.
Art in the Allen Center