Bell Museum of Natural History

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN



Impressions of Nature: The Wildfowl Art of Frank W. Benson


The sporting art of Frank Benson (1862-1951), one of America's leading Impressionists of the early twentieth century, will be featured in a new exhibit, "Impressions of Nature: The Wildfowl Art of Frank W. Benson," opening at the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum of Natural History, Saturday, Sept. 25, 1999.

Widely known for his landscapes and portraits of prominent New Englanders, Frank W. Benson was also a passionate naturalist with an intense interest in waterfowl and hunting. A native of Salem, Mass., Benson was formally trained at the Paris-based Ecole des Beaux-Arts and Academie Julian and was a founding member of the Boston School of Fine Arts, where he taught throughout his life.

In the Impressionist tradition, Benson often painted outdoors, experimenting with light and color in his paintings of landscapes and people engaged in everyday events. After earning a comfortable living as one of America's most sought-after portrait artists, Benson made a mid-career change to pursue his love of wildlife. Between 1915 and 1940, Benson created hundreds of paintings and etchings depicting outdoor life in Cape Cod, Canada and New England.

The show features more than 25 paintings and 70 drawings, etchings and lithographs ranging in subject from migratory waterfowl and shorebirds to hunting and fishing scenes, as well as a collection of antique shorebird decoys.

"Impressions of Nature" will be on display through Dec. 5, 1999.

Images from top to bottom: Morning Geese, 1929, oil, 32 x 40 inches, Private Collection; Goose Blind, 1927, oil, 32 x 40 inches, Private Collection; Poling Upstream, 1926, watercolor, 19 1/2 x 24 inches, Private Collection; The Hiker, 1923, watercolor, 19 1/2 x 15 inches, Private Collection

Please read more about the Bell Museum of Natural History in the Resource Library

For further biographical information on Frank Benson please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/18/10

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