Winter Trees V. by Gershon Benjamin sold for $2,500 at Swann Auction Galleries American Art auction on Sept. 22, 2022 in New York City. Born in Romania, Benjamin immigrated to Montreal with his family in 1901 to escape the persecution of Jews throughout Eastern Europe at that time. Benjamin attended the Canadian Royal Academy of Arts, Ontario and started his career in Canada. However, in his early 20s, Benjamin decided to move to New York City, where he attended classes at the Art Students League of New York and the Educational Alliance Art School. During that time, he began to work as a commercial artist for The Sun, where he remained until the publication folded in 1950.
Benjamin’s formal training and his close association with French and American modernists influenced his own modernist style; his paintings incorporated minute details with dynamic, sweeping lines and colors, which became more abstract as his career progressed. Due to his choice to remain loyal to his personal style and his disinterest in commercial success and staying relevant, Benjamin’s works largely went under the radar throughout his career.
After losing his job at The Sun, Benjamin concentrated on his painting and taught summer art courses. Always one to be involved with the community, he later went on to instruct inmates in a drug rehabilitation program at a local penitentiary. As we come to the end of 2022, we might consider following in Benjamin’s footsteps in 2023 and making time to give back to our communities however we can.
Some of our other favorites, from the Swann Auction Galleries American Art auction on Sept. 22, 2022 in New York City, appear throughout the issue.