Standing Child - Benson, Frank Weston

Standing Child

Date Unknown

Frank Weston Benson studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, along with Edmund Tarbell.  Like Tarbell, He later returned to the school to teach. Under the leadership of Benson and Tarbell, the school flourished and distinguished itself as a central figure in early twentieth century American art education. His early work featured intimate portraits of his family and friends which demonstrated his technical skill while conveying a sense of warmth between the artist and model.

Benson’s Standing Child watercolor may be an image of one of his children – possibly son George – in an unusual costume that is somewhat evocative of Northern African attire.  The quietude of this study evokes Dutch Baroque interiors, which Benson considered influential to his work during the darker winter months spent in his studio near Penobscot Bay in Maine.  Such a tender image may date to pre-1915, as Benson switched his focus from images of women and children to outdoor sporting subjects around that year.