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Life Arts

Post-Mortem Benny Andrews: Seven of His Early Paintings from Artnet's AWC.

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I published an OEN article dated on 10/25/2008 with The Goodbye Study 1 (2004) by Benny Andrews here.   At that time the artist had passed, but Artnet's AWC did not have his early works from the 1960's.  

In the following, the paragraphs in quotation marks (and the seven images, as credited) are copyright the Estate of Benny Andrews and Artnet's Artist Works Catalogs. 

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I think you will agree that Benny Andrews described himself very well when he said, 'In short, I am a people's painter.'


The Artist

" My Work:

I paint and draw things from my imagination, which is filled with bits and pieces of experiences that I've lived, juxtaposed with what I'm experiencing now, and projecting what I feel will happen in the future.

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While I make works of a lot of subjects, such as still lifes and landscapes, I'm really interested in doing works of people. To me, everything revolves around the individual. A successful work of a person or people is one that evokes some kind of emotion. I want my images of people to give off a feeling of being real. By real, I don't mean rendering them photographically, but rather something more abstract, something more than what the viewer usually sees.

My subject matter is very broad, and I am very inclusive of whom I depict, although I do have a large representation of African-Americans in a high percentage of my works. Often, it's not their race that I'm presenting, but rather what they are doing. I'm also very responsive to people who reflect their lives in their work and leisure.

When I depict the affluent, it's often from the position of my being outside of their world, and I try to depict that perspective in how I represent them. In short, I'm a people's painter.'


Enjoy these early Benny Andrews paintings; he was a remarkably talented painter.   I would love to have met the man and be able to relate a personal anecdote about him.   But after all, we do have his paintings.  


Placidity (1963), Permission Granted by The Estate of Benny Andrews and Artnet's AWC

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Artist as an Artist (1964), Permission Granted by The Estate of Benny Andrews and Artnet's AWC

Mary in Blue (1965), Permission Granted by The Estate of Benny Andrews and Artnet's AWC

War Mementos (1966), Permission Granted by The Estate of Benny Andrews and Artnet's AWC

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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)

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