9 x 12"
oil on panel
A couple of days ago, while I was working on this new painting, I stepped outside to stretch and looked up at the summer sky full of big, puffy clouds against the jewel-blue - the same summer sky that I was painting in Frank Benson's Summer.
I know Benson's painting so well. In 33 years of framing, I'm guessing I framed the print 50+ times. Women, especially, loved it.
Frank Weston Benson was a Massachusetts native born in 1862 - became the founding member of the Ten American Painters in his 30's, associating himself with famous impressionistic painters like William Merritt Chase, Thomas Dewing, Childe Hassam to name a few. It was a desire to be a part of like-minded artists and turned out to be a brilliant marketing strategy - their exhibitions were wildly popular around the turn of the century.
Benson painted Summer in 1909, featuring his daughters and niece on the cliffs near his family's vacation home on North Haven Island in Maine. He composed the women from sketches and photographs, creating the 'personifications of beauty and optimism on a perfect summer day'.
Benson taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and occasionally taught at Rhode Island School of Design. The painting was donated to the school's art museum by one of Benson's major patrons, where it hangs today.
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