Item #AT-0378
Autumn Leaves Oil on Paper
by Gershon Benjamin (1899 - 1985)


Autumn Leaves by Gershon Benjamin (1899 - 1985)
Oil on Paper
Verso Spanierman Gallery Label
Signed lower left and dated 1966

New York, Spanierman Gallery, 2008

Spanierman Gallery
New Jersey Private Collection
Stillwell House Fine Art & Antiques



24"H x 36"W


29.5"H x 42"W under Museum Glass


A painter of portraits, landscapes, still lives, and the urban scene, Gershon Benjamin sustained an active career for over seven decades. Consistently dedicated to an artistic expression that was personal and honest, Benjamin was not commercially motivated and never wanted to compete with other artists for notoriety. Although many of his artist-cohorts became famous, notably his close friend Milton Avery, Benjamin was content simply to be able to paint, supported by a job in the art department of the New York Sun. Indeed, it was due to this perspective that his life's work has remained largely unknown. In his work, drawing on his academic background and many European modernist influences, Benjamin distilled the exhaustive array of visual stimuli that he encountered into reductive, thoughtful images, using form and color to encapsulate his emotive responses to his subjects.

He evolved a distinctive style in which he combined a lyrical chromaticism with simplified designs and two-dimensional shapes, achieving a subtle balance between realism and abstraction with which he sought to capture the essence, or universal truth, of his subjects. He viewed his art as a means of expressing personal emotion; as he put it, "To feel is to know and to know is to feel; all my paintings represent that through color, line, and subject." As the introduction to the catalogue from his first solo show, held in 1934, aptly stated: his "theory embraces a precise expressionism" and commented that in his "nuanced studies you will encounter the evasive, evocative personality of the true searcher after the emotional 'mot juste."

Benjamin continued to paint until his death in 1985.

Despite his long and prolific career, Benjamin remained little known to contemporary art audiences until the early 1980s, when a series of exhibitions--at Drew University (1983) the New Jersey Institute of Technology (1984)--brought his work before the public eye. In 2003, the exhibition Gershon and the City opened at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey, and in the spring of 2008 Spanierman Gallery held Over Seven Decades: The Art of Gershon Benjamin (1899-1985), accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue, covering Benjamin's life and work. Benjamin is represented in many private collections, as well as in public collections including Berkeley Heights Public Library, New Jersey; Drew University, Madison, New Jersey; Griffiths Art Center, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; and Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, Kansas.
Credit: Spanierman Gallery LLC.