Meadowlark Gallery: The Artist Biographies

Frank Weston Benson (1862-1951)
Frank Weston Benson was born in Salem, Massachusetts on March 24, 1862 and attended the Salem schools. He was the son of George Wiggin Benson, a cotton merchant. In 1880, when he was eighteen years old, Benson began his art education at The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, remaining there until 1883 when he went to Paris for two years of study under Boulanger and Lefebvre at the Academic Julien. Upon his return to America in 1885, he painted portraits in Salem, and also spent two years as an instructor in drawing and painting at the Portland (Maine) School of Arts. He excelled in painting women and children, often in outdoor scenes of brilliant light and color. On October 17, 1888, Benson married the former Ellen Perry, daughter of Edward Brooks Peirson, a physician. The following year he opened a studio in Boston and accepted an appointment at The Boston Museum of Fine Arts as an instructor in drawing and painting, a position he was to hold until 1913. In the early 1900's, Benson began doing landscapes, outdoor subjects, and birds. He worked in watercolor and oil and in 1912, when he was 50 years old, he took up etching. He subsequently made over 300 plates and became known as the dean of American etchers. His waterfowl etchings were internationally acclaimed and he has been credited with helping to revive the then almost lost art of etching in this country. Frank W. Benson was selected by J. Ding Darling to do the design for the second Federal Duck Stamp in 1935. He died at the age of 89 in Salem, Massachusetts on November 14, 1951.
View high resolution images of works by Frank Weston Benson when available.