Frank Weston Benson was born in Salem, Massachusetts. From 1880-1883, Benson first studied art at Boston’s Museum School. In 1883, Benson enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris. While in Europe, he was able to spend a summer at the seaside village of Concarneau in Brittany and travel in England where his painting, After the Storm hung at the Royal Academy.
Upon returning to America, Benson opened a studio on Salem’s Chestnut Street and began painting portraits of family and friends. Frank Weston Benson was appointed as instructor of antique drawing at the Museum School in Boston in the spring of l889. In 1890, Benson won the Hallgarten Prize at the National Academy in New York. It was the first of a long series of awards, that earned him the title “America’s Most Medalled Painter.”
In the early years of his career, Frank Benson’s studio works were mostly portraits or paintings of figures set in richly appointed interiors, but outdoor works of landscapes and marines gave Benson greatest creative satisfaction. In 1899, Benson’s style developed towards impressionism. The Sisters, an example of his early impressionist works, was first exhibited at the Carnegie Institute in November of l899 where it immediately won its first prize: $l,000 and the Silver Medal for Painting. It is now part of the Terra Museum of Art collection.
This painting was also one of the first works that Benson hung at an exhibition with nine friends. The exhibition titled, “Ten American Painters”, had a major impact on American Art. The group became known as “The Ten”, a nickname bestowed upon them by newspapers reviewing their shows. Frank Weston Benson’s association with other members of “The Ten”, such as Childe Hassam, Thomas Dewing, William Merrit Chase and J. Alden Weir, was instrumental in establishing Impressionism as an important style of painting in America.
Frank Benson’s Impressionist style was influenced by the modern French approach by both his friends in “The Ten” and by the sunlit countryside of North Haven Island, Maine, where he summered beginning in 1901. Today his paintings are considered among the most beautiful works in American public and private collections.
· Addison Gallery of Art at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts
· Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio
· Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts
· Butler Art Institute, Youngstown, Ohio
· Chrysler Art Museum, Norfolk, Virginia
· Cincinnati Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio
· Cleveland Institute of Fine Arts, Cleveland, Ohio
· Corcoran Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
· Detroit Art Museum
· Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine
· Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, California (on long-term loan)
· Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts
· Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana
· Library of Congress, The Great Hall, Washington, D.C.
· Los Angeles Country Art Museum, Los Angeles, California
· Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
· Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
· Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
· National Academy of Design, New York, New York
· National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
· National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
· National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
· Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts
· Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
· Portland Art Museum, Portland, Maine
· Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
· Salem Public Library, Salem, Massachusetts
· Toledo Art Museum, Toledo, Ohio
· Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Art & Antique Article about The Ten American Painters