Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Art Review - "Eleanor" by Frank Weston Benson

 Last week, I shared a painting by John Singer Sargent that had a profound influence on my growth as a painter. This week's #MuseumTourTuesday piece had just as profound an impact. Frank Benson's work relies on an exaggerated balance of warm and cool colors to create not only a sense of light, but also form and composition.

In this piece, also from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the warm lights vibrating against the cool shadows in Eleanor's dress create a sense of volume. It would be natural to expect all of the shadow areas to be cool in temperature as well. Yet the face and hair are warmed by reflected light from the lower right, causing them to stand out and bring our attention directly to them. This masterful depiction of reflected light in order to control composition rivals the work of Benson's contemporary, Spanish artist JoaquĆ­n Sorrola.

"Eleanor" • Frank Weston Benson • Oil on Canvas • 1907 • 25.25" x 30.25"

Painting photo by Saunders Fine Arts.

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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