Gershon Benjamin Figurative Painting - American Modernist Social Realist Seamstress Portrait Painting
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Gershon Benjamin
American Modernist Social Realist Seamstress Portrait Painting

c.1940s

About

Gershon Benjamin (1899 – 1985) was an American modern painter. Born in Piatra Neamt, Romania, he immigrated with his family to Montreal, Canada at the age of two, to escape the persecution of Jews throughout Eastern Europe at the time. As a youth he was trained by Edmond Dyonnet and then mentored by landscape painter Arthur-Dominique Rozaire. In 1923, Benjamin moved to New York City and married actress Hilda Zelda Cohen. He worked nights in the art department of The Sun and enrolled at Art Students League of New York, Cooper Union, and The Educational Alliance where he began to etch and continued to draw and paint. His influences were Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Édouard Vuillard, and Rembrandt. He was also inspired by Japanese prints, folk art, and primitive painting. Benjamin associated himself with a circle of progressive artists including Milton Avery, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, and Arshile Gorky, as well as John Sloan and Raphael and Moses Soyer. Benjamin was particularly close to Milton Avery, and the two artists and their wives lived at the Lincoln Arcade, a building converted from offices to artists’ home-studios. Benjamin and Avery shared similar artistic ideals, especially apparent in their similar use of gentle color harmonies, and they often drew from the same models together, or portrayed each other. In 1933 Benjamin’s work was part of a group exhibition at New York’s Roosevelt Hotel, along with the art of Gottlieb, organized by the impresario and art critic Robert Godsoe. Godsoe continued to promote Benjamin’s art, along with that of Avery, Rothko, and Gottlieb, at exhibitions he organized at the Uptown and Secession Galleries. The art on view gained significant attention from the press and was described as “expressionist,” for its individualistic and subjective aspects which contrasted with the Regionalist art popular at the time. In July 1933, Godsoe hosted Benjamin’s first solo exhibition, presenting a group of his gouaches of figural and city motifs, which were well-received by the critics. In the late 1930s, Benjamin continued to exhibit his work and receive appreciation. He exhibited at the Society of Independent Artists and the Salons of America, and in March 1937, he had a solo exhibition of his paintings and gouaches at Contemporary Arts, New York, located on 58th Street. Benjamin’s work continued to be praised by the press. Benjamin’s emotive and consistent balance between realism and abstraction throughout his career, often saw him go unrecognized and left on the outside of whatever was in vogue at the time. In the 1940s, his generic subject matter was overlooked by the social realists, even though his images of common people and public places was reminiscent of the Ashcan School. In the 1950s, the completely non-representational forms of abstract expressionism had no place for Benjamin’s figural aspects, however abstract they may have been. And from the 1960s onward, pop-art, minimalism, and conceptual art had little in common with his work. The Benjamins moved to Free Acres, New Jersey in the 1930s, drawn by the communal aspects and large concentration of visual artists, writers, and actors. Benjamin lost his job when The Sun closed in 1950, and then concentrated on painting. He has showed at Spanierman Galleries and Gerald Peters Gallery.

Details

  • Movement & Style
  • Condition
    Good
  • Condition Details
    good, minor wear. Please see photos. there is no frame. just matting
  • Dimensions
    H 29.5 in. x W 23.5 in.H 74.93 cm x W 59.69 cm
  • Gallery Location
    Bal Harbour, FL
  • Reference Number
    LU3824500251
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About the Seller

4.9 / 5
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Located in Bal Harbour, FL
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