Artist Christopher W. Benson’s Gallery Walk and Talk, “Pictures & Windows” at Newport Art Museum

Brenda Calkins, Jessica Hagen & sponsor Cynthia Sinclair


A crowd of art lovers followed the artist Christopher W. Benson through the Cushing Gallery of The Newport Art Museum, as he described his works and his states of his mind and geography when he produced them.


Norah Diedrich introducing Christopher Benson

Raised in Newport and Providence, Benson emerged from a family of artists and forged his own artistic path through teachers, art historical figures, friends, and his own intuition. Along the way, he found himself in Brooklyn, Cornwall, Newport, Berkeley, Tiverton, and Santa Fe, all of which stimulated the exploration of new content, styles, and ideas. As a representational painter, Benson absorbed various influences but nevertheless created something altogether new. Familiar and yet innovative, Benson’s paintings are quintessentially American, hovering in a territory somewhere between the salt-of- the-Earth realism of earlier New England coastal painters like Winslow Homer and George Bellows, and the vibrancy of Bay Area Figuration.  


Mr. Benson describing himself as an "old fashioned conceptual painter"




Crowd listening intently

His works have also been influenced by other prominent American painters, such as Martin Johnson Heade, Edward Hopper, the regionalists of the 1930s, and the American Modernists Patrick Henry Bruce and Stuart Davis. From his early paintings of New York City to San Francisco Bay Area domestic interiors and streetscapes, to New Mexican landscapes, bi-coastal seascapes, and even some Mayan-influenced paintings, Benson takes us through an artistic odyssey that charts many of the potentials of his medium, from hard-edged realism to expressionism and abstraction. 

Ms. Diedrich videoing Mr. Benson as he describes working in Santa Fe

His talk explained the subtext of each painting, several of which included, and were inspired by, his wife and members of his Rhode Island family, as well as his peregrinations.

Mr. Benson studied at RISD, where he earned his BFA in painting. He has had solo exhibitions at the Paul Thiebaud Gallery (San Francisco, CA), LewAllen Contemporary and Gerald Peters Gallery (both in Santa Fe, NM), the Virginia Lynch Gallery (Tiverton, RI) and Jessica Hagen Fine Art (Newport, RI). He has also participated in group exhibitions at the National Academy of Design (NYC), The Phoenix Art Museum (AZ), MoMA (NYC), and the Washington Art Association (Washington CT) where he won a juror’s prize in 2015. His work resides in the permanent collections at the Newport Art Museum, Redwood Library & Athenaeum, MoMA, the Stanford University Schools of Law and of Aeronautics, and in the special collections at the Stanford University and RISD Libraries.

Pictures of the Prince /deRamel family, with Regis & Guillaume de Ramel as teenagers



Seen were exhibit sponsor Cynthia Sinclair, Jessica Hagen, Rick Grosvenor, Newport Art Museum Executive Director Norah Diedrich,  Toby and Kate Field, Brooke Roberts and Brenda Calkins.





Portrait of  Darcy & Natasha Harrison


Brooke Roberts of the Art Museum



Works in the second room of the gallery


Painting of Mr. Benson's  grandparents


Going into abstract


Works influenced by Paul Klee & Piet Mondrian



Painting done in Roswell, New Mexico


One of the paintings of the artist's wife


The 2006 seascape refers to Winslow Homer and alludes to Corbet


The artist's book featuring the exhibition "Pictures & Windows," which is available at the Museum.


Kate & Toby Field



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