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Art & Design

Frank Weston Benson, Summer, 1909, Bequest of Isaac C. Bates

Frank Weston Benson


Frank Weston Benson
American, 1862-1951
Oil on canvas
91.8 x 113 cm (36 1/8 x 44 1/2 inches)
Bequest of Isaac C. Bates 13.912

Frank Weston Benson, a leading member of the group of American painters known as “the Ten,” taught in both Boston and New York and occasionally offered studio critiques to students at Rhode Island School of Design. Summer was bequeathed to the Museum by one of Benson’s major patrons, Isaac C. Bates, who served as president of RISD’s corporation from 1907 until his death in 1913. The light-filled view represents Benson’s daughters and niece on the cliffs near the artist’s vacation home on North Haven Island in Penobscot Bay, Maine. Rendered with the brilliant palette and broken brushstrokes of French Impressionism, it is based on sketches and photographs that captured the poses of these confident young women, personifications of beauty and optimism on a perfect summer day.

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