top: William Brice as a boy
middle and bottom: Fanny Brice and Billy Rose
Rose had become an extremely successful lyricist and Broadway producer, and the Brice household was constantly filled with lively personalities, revered intellects and accomplished artists, including the likes of George and Ira Gershwin, Will Rogers, Clifford Odets, John Barrymore, Katherine Hepburn, Averell Harriman and Edward, Prince of Wales.
Fanny’s general interest in art influenced her son, who was exposed at an early age to Old Masters and modern art on visits to New York museums and travels in Europe.
Brice began to show a keen interest in and talent for art, and Fanny encouraged her son by engaging artist Henry Botkin (a first cousin to the Gershwins) as his tutor. In addition to lessons and museum visits, Botkin took Brice to galleries where he saw art of that time, contemporary in 1933, and was introduced to many of the artists who were friends of Botkin’s and part of the New York art scene.