Admission is always free Directions

Open today: 10:00 to 5:00

Inscription

upper left: Frank W. Benson / '89

Provenance

The artist and his wife, Ellen Perry Peirson Benson, to 1951; Ellen Perry Peirson Benson [1860-1954], Salem, Massachusetts; her estate, 1954-1956; her daughter, Elisabeth Benson Rogers [Mrs. C.M.A. Rogers], Alabama, by 1956 or before; her sister, Sylvia Benson Lawson [Mrs. Ralph Lawson], Salem, Massachusetts, by 1976; bequest 1977 to NGA.



Exhibition History
1891
Exhibition of Pictures by Frank W. Benson and Edmund C. Tarbell, Chase's Gallery, Boston, 1891, no. 7.
1893
World Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893, no. 561.
1900
Exhibition of Paintings by Frank W. Benson, St. Botolph Club, Boston, 1900, no. 20.
1904
An Exhibition of Portraits, The Union League Club, New York, 1904, no. 4.
1921
Paintings, Prints, and Drawings by Frank W. Benson, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1921, no. 38, as Portrait of My Wife.
1924
Frank W. Benson, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1924, no. 26, as Portrait of My Wife.
1924
Paintings, Watercolors and Etchings by Frank W. Benson, Akron Art Institute, Ohio, 1924, no. 18, repro.
1938
Frank W. Benson & Edmund C. Tarbell: Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Prints, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1938, no. 45.
1952
One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Annual Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York, 1952, no. 3.
1956
Frank W. Benson Retrospective Exhibition, Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1956, no. 5.
1973
Frank W. Benson 1862-1951: Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Prints, Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Rockland, Maine, 1973, no cat.
1992
Extended loan for use by Ambassador Raymond G. H. Seitz, U.S. Embassy residence, London, England, 1992-1994.
Bibliography
1900
Downes, William Howe. "Frank W. Benson and His Work." Brush and Pencil 6 (July 1900): 153, repro. 149.
1908
Smith, Minna C. "The Work of Frank W. Benson." International Studio 35 (October 1908): 100.
1921
Seaton-Schmidt, Anna. "Frank W. Benson." American Magazine of Art 12 (November 1921): 366-368, repro. 367.
1979
Southgate, M. Therese. "The Cover: Frank W. Benson's 'Portrait in White.'" Journal of the American Medical Association 241 (22 June 1979): cover, 25, color repro.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 28, repro.
1980
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980: 130, repro.
1981
Williams, William James. A Heritage of American Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1981: 190, repro. 191.
1988
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. Rev. ed. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988: 152, repro.
1989
Bedford, Faith Andrews. "Frank W. Benson: A Biography." In Frank W. Benson: A Retrospective. Exh. cat. Berry-Hill Galleries, New York, 1989: 31, fig. 27, 40.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 33, repro.
1994
Bedford, Faith Andrews. Frank W. Benson: American Impressionist. New York, 1994: 42-43, repro. 36.
1996
Kelly, Franklin, with Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Deborah Chotner, and John Davis. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 26-28, color repro.
Technical Summary

The support is a very fine twill fabric \rthat has been lined, but the original tacking margins are \rpresent. A white ground was unevenly applied over the \rfinely woven support. After the figure was sketched in, the \rbackground was covered with dark green paint of a \rpastelike consistency. The sitter's body and dress were \rblocked in with white, and the flesh areas with a yellow-tan. Following this, the flesh areas were painted over with smooth applications of cool pink, leaving the darker tan underlayer exposed to model the forms. The details of the dress were built up thickly with ridges of impasto defining the stripes along the sleeves. Overall, the painting was executed decisively, with bold brushwork and very few changes in the composition. Examination by x-radiography reveals that the only compositional change made to the work involved the figure's right eye. The paint and ground layers are secure, although areas of craquelure are found throughout the thickly painted face, hands, and dress. One large hole, located in the middle of the woman's left side, and several old losses are also present. The varnish has grayed slightly.