Gerrit A. Beneker (1882-1934)

Gerrit A. Beneker (1882-1934)

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Gerrit Albertus Beneker studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League in New York City, and in 1905, launched his career as an illustrator, specializing in pictures of industry.  In 1913, Beneker moved with his family to Provincetown, Massachusetts, to attend Charles Hawthorne’s Cape Cod School of Art. Under Hawthorne’s tutelage, Beneker learned more about color theory and began to paint seascapes and portraits of local characters. In Cape Cod, he adopted a more impressionistic style and brightened his palette.

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In 1918, during World War I, Beneker was hired by the government to create the Victory Liberty Loan poster, “Sure We’ll Finish the Job,” to inspire Americans at home to continue supporting the war effort. Millions of posters were distributed and the exposure resulted in Beneker’s four-year employment by the Hydraulic Pressed Steel Company in Cleveland to paint their laborers, images that would later be printed in the company’s newsletter for the workers. Beneker was a member of the Salmagundi Club, the Provincetown Art Association, the Beachcombers Club, and the American Artists Professional Club, and also gave lectures on art. He exhibited with various art institutions, including the Boston Art Club, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago and with Vose Galleries in 1925. 

References: See Gerrit Beneker (Boston: Vose Galleries); Dictionary of American Illustrators (1997); Who Was Who In American Art (1999); Moments in Time, Gerrit A. Beneker, A Retrospective (Provincetown Art Association and Museum, 2003)

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