Size: 49 x 37.5 cm
Gouache on paper
Signed lower right
Jean Benner (1836-1909) began his public career at the Salon in 1859 where he exhibited Fleurs (Flowers). His early work shows Benner’s interest in still-lifes and portraits, but he should be mostly remembered for his views of Italy, especially that of the island Capri.
Benner was born into a family of artists, he was the twin brother of Emmanuel Benner, also a painter, whose portrait he painted. Jean began his artistic training with his father, also named Jean Benner, an artist of Swiss origin who was influenced by the Dutch masters and who worked most exclusively with drawings and paintings of flowers. After beginning his training under his father, Jean studied for a short time with Jean Eck, attending evening sessions at the atelier Suisse which was not so much a tutorial atelier as an open space providing a model for a young artist to study. Many other artists frequented this atelier, such as Gustave Courbet. Jean Benner continued to train in Paris where he became a student of Ernest Hébert and Léon Bonnat. Some time later, Benner sought a more rigid, academic training and thus enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts studios of Isidore Pils and Jean-Jacques Henner, two artists who had gained prominence in the Parisian art world.
Benner continued to submit his work regularly to the Salon, almost each exhibition inspired at least in part by his voyages in Italy. In 1879, he became “hors concours” which provided him entry into the Salon without the necessity of jury acceptance. He was named a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 1894 and also became a member of the Société des Artistes Français.
The largest portion of Benner’s work can now be found in the Mulhouse Musée des Beaux Arts, as well as the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Belfort.
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