The Academy Art Museum is Easton has announced the opening of a new exhibition, “Benson’s Waterfowl: Selections from the Peg and Bob Keller Collection,” on October 4, 2014. The exhibition will be in the Museum’s Spitaleri Gallery through January 4, 2015.
Born in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1862, Frank Weston Benson (1862-1951) was a descendant of a family who had settled in Salem during the Revolutionary era and had prospered in the maritime trade. In 1879, Benson studied art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and in 1885 at the Académie Julian in Paris. He taught at the School of the Museum while establishing himself as a successful portraitist and painter of interiors with figures.
His plein-air works won critical acclaim at exhibitions. Benson joined “The Ten American Painters” (or “The Ten”), a group of painters who left the established Society of American Artists in 1897. Most of them painted in an Impressionist style and exhibited independently. Beside Benson, members included Childe Hassam, John Henry Twachtman, and J. Alden Weir, among others. Benson, recognized as one of the best American printmakers of the 20th century, is credited with making wildlife prints a distinct genre.
The Museum has Robert K. Keller to thank for the collection of these Benson prints of wildlife as he started donating Frank Benson’s work to the Museum in 2001 and continued with these gifts until his death in 2009. The exhibition is sponsored by the Talbot County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council.
Photo: Frank Benson, Reflections, 1920 (detail), Etching, AAM 2001.067, Gift of Peg and Robert Keller.