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Ben Wilson
The Fifth

c. 1990

US$16,500

About

Oil on masonite. Like many of his compatriots in the New York School, Ben Wilson (1913-2001) began his career painting figuratively before transitioning to abstraction after WWII (and somewhat later than his compatriots.) However, because he started in a different place than they did, he ended up in a different place. His starting place was the cubism of Picasso, Braque and Leger, and their influence never left him. A critic in the Princeton Review in 1987 wrote: "Ben Wilson's canvases, while still within the abstract expressionist mode, retain echoes of Picasso, Braque and even mechanistic elements of Fernand Leger." Another critic writes: "The expressive abstractions of Ben Wilson belong among the best work created by New York artists in the 20th century; but they stand outside the critical labels applied to Abstract Expressionism..." Ben Wilson had more than 30 one-man shows during his lifetime, first starting to show in the early 1930s. As early as 1942, he was singled out by the New York Times art critic Edward Alden Jewell as a "discovery." He exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum (1934), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Corcoran, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, among others. His work is in the collection of the Newark Museum and the Montclair Museum. Wilson has recently been "rediscovered" and was the subject of a one-man show at Quogue Gallery in 2017 and Montclair State University.

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