Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ben Silbert

The owner
of a watercolor
by one "Ben Silbert" (1893-1940)
came across
our listing of
"Benjamin Silbert"
in the "Graphic Art Section"
of the
1916 P&C 20th Anniverary exhibit
at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Ben Silbert was born in Russia and
studied at the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1924
he was included in
this exhibit
at the Art Institute
along with Joseph Birren
(who was also a P&C member)

And in 1927
he was included in
another show
at the Art Institute
"Watercolors, Pastels, and Drawings"

(BTW, even though Silbert's work
is not pictured,
it's one of the best
A.I.C. catalogs I've ever seen.
There are many good drawings)

I'm figuring
that Ben and Benjamin
were one and the same

since these drawings
remind me
of a Palette and Chisel
figure drawing workshop.

This piece
is in the
Brooklyn Museum

and this piece
is in the Art Institute
(but regrettfully,
it is neither on display
pictured in their database)

I'm not sure when he left,
but Silbert did not stay in Chicago,
and is known as a New Yorker.

He also seemed
to have been working hard
to find a patron,
as witnessed by his pursuit
of the Cone sisters of Baltimore
who were friends of Gertrude Stein
and major collectors
of Matisse, Picasso,
and other leading artists
of their time.

Here's his portrait of
one of them:

Etta Cone

"The artist Ben Silbert flooded her with letters of his travels, and described in intricate detail his works in progress. Etta was obviously flattered by the attention, and may not have suspected that the correspondents were at least partly motivated by their own financial considerations." quoted from
The Cone Sisters of Baltimore : Collecting at Full Tilt

Portrait of a Girl in White
The "Girl in White" is Mildred Louer Bird, whose grandson sent me this image.
It was exhibited at the Art Institute in 1924. Tragically, Ms. Bird died in a plane crash five years later.


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