Frank Weston Benson

Frank Weston Benson, International Art Gallery, Self Portrait, Art Gallery, Portraits of Painters, Fine arts, Self-Portraits, Painter Frank Weston, Self-Portrait

Frank Weston Benson, International Art Gallery, Self Portrait, Art Gallery, Portraits of Painters, Fine arts, Self-Portraits, Painter Frank Weston, Portrait of woman

Frank Weston Benson (American, 1862 - 1951)

Frank Weston Benson, International Art Gallery, Self Portrait, Art Gallery, Portraits of Painters, Fine arts, Self-Portraits, Painter Frank Weston
Frank Weston Benson was born in 1862 into a prosperous seafaring family in Salem, Massachusetts. He was the eldest son in a family that encouraged experimentation and creativity. The social and spiritual needs of the children were fulfilled with music classes, dancing lessons, and mandatory attendance at weekly Episcopal church services. Benson would later marry into the Unitarian Church but always described himself as a "wedding and funeral" type of churchgoer. Like all families of means, the Bensons would escape the heat of the Salem summer to Marblehead, south of Salem. At the age of 12, Benson had his own sailboat and became an accomplished sailor. By 17, Frank had turned tall and lanky (over six foot three) and was an avid sportsman. He played tennis almost every afternoon and in the winter excelled at boxing. He and his father, George, took frequent trips to hunt waterfowl that teemed along the North Shore. Two birds shot on one of these outings became the subject of his first oil painting.

Frank's mother (a painter herself) persuaded his father, skeptical of his son's ability to support himself as a painter, to enter the newly formed School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He entered the "Museum School" as it became known, in 1880. It was here that he developed his lifelong friendship with Joseph Lindon Smith.

While in Paris, Benson and Smith frequently painted each other's portraits and shipped them home to prove to their parents that their money was being well spent. It was in Paris that Benson first became exposed to Impressionism, a new and radical form of art that would later define him as an artist.

After two years in Paris, Benson and Smith returned to plan their careers. Frank knew that only a handful of artists ever achieve true financial success but luckily for him he was able to capitalize on the developing enthusiasm for American art in New England after the Civil War.

Benson went on to become an American master. He received acclaim as a teacher, a portraitist, and a painter of wildlife. He was also one of the leaders of The Ten, a prominent group of American Impressionists. Benson, who spent the latter part of his life sketching waterfowl on his beloved North Shore, died quietly on a November afternoon in 1951 surrounded by the things he loved. Although the tangible rewards of Benson's work were obvious, he felt that being able to work at what he loved was the greatest gift life had given him. He once remarked to his friend and comrade Joseph Lindon Smith, "We lived and worked in a fortunate time".


Frank Weston Benson, International Art Gallery, Self Portrait, Art Gallery, Portraits of Painters, Fine arts, Self-Portraits, Painter Frank Weston, Portrait of woman

Frank Weston Benson, International Art Gallery, Self Portrait, Art Gallery, Portraits of Painters, Fine arts, Self-Portraits, Painter Frank Weston, Philip LIttle

Frank Weston Benson, International Art Gallery, Self Portrait, Art Gallery, Portraits of Painters, Fine arts, Self-Portraits, Painter Frank Weston, Portrait of woman



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