Benson’s 'Impressionist Summers'

Jun 10, 2012
Frank W. Benson's "Sunlight" is a 1909 oil on canvas painting from the collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, John Herron Fund.

Rockland — On Saturday, June 16, the Farnsworth Art Museum will open a major exhibition in the downtown museum’s Morehouse wing. "Impressionist Summers: Frank W. Benson’s North Haven," a show of approximately 70 works, will examine how Frank W. Benson’s art was affected by his life on North Haven, where he created almost all of his brilliant, sun-drenched Impressionist paintings.

This exhibition examines Benson's long and productive career in the context of his life and work at his summer home, Wooster Farm, on the island of North Haven, 13 miles off the coast of Rockland. The renowned artist's island home was where he launched his prolific etching career and began making his highly successful watercolors. Through his paintings, both oil and watercolor, drypoints, etchings and lithographs, the exhibition will illustrate the important ways in which life on North Haven affected Benson's art. "Impressionist Summers: Frank W. Benson’s North Haven" is organized by guest curator Faith Andrews Bedford, with a fully illustrated catalog published by Skira Rizzoli Publications, Inc.

The exhibition will be celebrated on its opening day with a members-only preview and reception from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the museum. This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Faith Andrews Bedford and Robert F. Bedford, Mr. and Mrs. John D. Bertuzzi, Charles and Julia Bolton, Christie’s, Lizbeth and George Krupp, Machias Savings Bank, Grant and Carol Nelson, Margaret L. Shaw and Mr. and Mrs. David Webb. The primary media sponsor of this exhibition is Maine Home + Design.

In association with the exhibition, the Farnsworth will present a number of lectures and talks. First up Sunday, June 17 at 2 p.m. is an illustrated lecture by Bedford at the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St. Admission will be $7; $5 for museum members. Other include: Friday, July 13 at 1 p.m., gallery tour with Bedford; Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 1 p.m., gallery tour with chief curator Michael Komanecky; Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 1 p.m., gallery tour on Benson's Watercolors with assistant curator Jane Bianco; Wednesday, Aug. 22 at 1 p.m., gallery tour on Wooster Farm with Komanecky; Friday, Sept. 7 at 1 p.m., gallery tour on Benson's etchings with Bianco.

The Farnsworth Art Museum celebrates Maine’s ongoing role in American art. It offers a nationally recognized collection of works from many of America’s greatest artists, with 20,000 square feet of gallery space and more than 10,000 works in the collection. The Farnsworth has one of the largest public collections of works by sculptor Louise Nevelson, while its Wyeth Center features works of N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. The National Register-listed Farnsworth Homestead, the Olson House, a National landmark and Julia’s Gallery for Young Artists complete the museum complex. For more information on current exhibitions, programs and events, visit

Courier Publications' A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or

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