Frank Weston Benson

Frank Weston Benson is best known as a teacher, portraitist and for his Impressionists paintings, watercolors and etchings as well as being one of the founding fathers of the Ten American Painters.  Born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1862, Benson was encouraged to pursue his love of painting by his mother, a fellow watercolorist, and enroll in Boston Museum School.  While in school, he was hired to teach an evening art class until he decided to follow the crowd of young American artists to Europe to learn and paint in the edgy Impressionistic style. He lingered with a friend and spent a few years learning abroad at the Academie Julian in Paris where he perfected his craft.

In 1886, he returned home and within a few years, went back to the Museum School as an instructor of antique drawing where he earned many awards for his paintings of sporting subjects and portraits. Growing up hiking and hunting with his father, Benson’s paintings reflected the love he felt towards the outdoors in his later paintings. He was commissioned to paint a series of murals for the Library of Congress in the mid 1890s and continued to perfect his Impressionistic style through many wildlife landscapes and scenes, and lessening the portraits of serene women and children.

Towards the end of his days, Benson felt fortunate to have been able to succeed in doing what he loved. He commented to a friend that "[w]e lived and worked in a fortunate time.” He passed away quietly in 1951, surrounded by the things he loved as the “most medaled painter in America.”