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Karl Stanley Benjamin

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Karl Benjamin
20th Century Modern Hard-Edge Painting Painter
American, (December 29, 1925–July 26, 2012) Having first presented his work in a one-person exhibition in 1958, the Long Beach Museum of Art has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the California modernist painter Karl Benjamin. Benjamin has said the following about his work: "Early in my painting years, I worked in an Abstract Expressionist vein, but since 1954, my work has dealt with hard-edge, more-or-less geometric forms, and with an intensive exploration of color. I am an intuitive painter, despite the ordered appearance of my paintings, and am fascinated by the infinite range of expression inherent in color relationships. For the past fifteen or twenty years, I have been working with systems including relatively simple numerical progressions and modular constructions." Born in Chicago, Karl Benjamin studied at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illiinois and University of Redlands, California. He has taught at Pomona College and the Claremont Graduate School for the last twenty years. In 1959, his work was featured, along with that of John McLaughlin, Lorser Feitelson, and Frederick Hammersley, in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's "Four Abstract Classicists," a highly significant exhibition from which the phrase "hard-edge painting" was coined.
Exhibitions
2008: "Thirty Years of California Modernism," September 25 - December 31, 2008, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, California
2007: "A Conversation with Color: Karl Benjamin, Paintings 1953 - 1995," Claremont Museum of Art, Claremont, California
2006: "A Little So Cal Abstraction," September 8 - October 15, 2006, Mandarin Gallery, Los Angeles, California
2005: “Karl Benjamin, Selected Paintings: 1953-1994,” The Claremont Community Foundation, California
2005: “Karl Benjamin: Drawings 1950-1965," Louis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles, California
2004: “Paintings from 1950-1965,” Louis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles, California
2004: “The Los Angeles School: Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, June Harwood, Helen Lundeberg and John McLaughlin,” Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California
2004: “American Art: Selections from the Collection,” San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California
2004: "Selections from the Permanent Collection," Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California
2004: “Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form 1940s - 70s,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
2004: “Alphabet Series: 1964-1965,” Brian Goss Fine Art, San Francisco, California
2003: “Karl Benjamin: Stripe Paintings 1979-1981," Brian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, California
2002: "Austere Geometry 1955 - 1975," May 10 - June 22, 2002, Gary Snyder Fine Art, New York, New York
2001: “(Mostly) Random Rectangles,” Brian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, California
2001: “Four Abstract Classicists: Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, and John McLaughlin,” Gary Snyder Fine Art, New York, New York
2000: “Karl Benjamin: Vertical Chords,” January 18 - February 11, 2000, Harris Gallery, University of La Verne, La Verne, California
1999: "Under 500 / Intimate Abstract Painting," The Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles, California
1998: “Elusive Paradise: Los Angeles Art from the Permanent Collection,” Geffen Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California
1998: “Convergence,” The Art Galleries at Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, California
1997: “Geometric Abstraction 1937-1997,” Snyder Fine Art, New York, New York
1997: “Eyedazzlers,” University Art Museum, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
1996: “California Artists: Genres of the 20th Century,” Henley Gallery, Chapman University, Orange, California
1996: “Some Grids: The Theme of the Grid in 20th Century Art,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
1996: “On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art,” Jack Rutberg Fine Arts Gallery, Los Angles, California
1995: LA Artcore, Los Angeles, California
1994: “Karl Benjamin: The Pomona Years 1979-1994,” August 31 - October 9, 1994, Montgomery Gallery, Pomona College, Pomona, California
1993: “Four Abstract Classicists, West Coat Hard Edge,” Modernism Gallery, San Francisco, California
1993: “California: Art from the 1930s to the Present,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California
1992: “Selections from the Permanent Collection,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California
1992: Phinney Gallery, Palm Springs Museum, Palm Springs, California
1991 - 1992: “Karl Benjamin: Paintings 1955-1990,” October 24 - November 30, 1991, Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica, California; January 14 - February 15, 1992, Snyder Fine Art, New York, New York
1991: “Recent Paintings,” Fong-Spratt Galleries, San Jose, California
1991: “Post War Geometric Concepts,” Marilyn Pearl Gallery, New York, New York
1990: “Survey of Geometric Abstraction,” Marc Richards Gallery, Santa Monica, California
1990: “Turning the Tide: Early Los Angeles Modernists: 1920-1956,” Oakland Art Museum (Oakland Museum of California), Oakland, California; Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, California; Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute (Museum), San Antonio, Texas; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California; Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California, Nora Eccles Harrison Art Museum, Utah State University, Logan, Utah
1990: "Karl Benjamin," January 11 - February 10, 1990, Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica, California
1990: “A Ten Year Survey,” The Art Galleries of Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California
1989 - 1990: “Karl Benjamin: A Retrospective 1955-1987,” February 3 - March 12, 1989, Redding Museum and Art Center, Shasta College Art Gallery, Redding, California; March 28 - April 27, 1989, University of the Pacific, Richard H. Reynolds Gallery, Stockton, California; December 11, 1989 - February 9, 1990, California State University, Northridge, Art Galleries, Northridge, California
1989: “Blueprints for Modern Living,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California
1989: “A Decade of Abstraction,” Seattle Center, Seattle, Washington
1988: “The Linear Thread,” Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, California
1987: “California's Painting from the 60s,” University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
1987: “Contemporary Prints by West Coast Artists,” Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, Washington
1987: “Pomona College Centennial Faculty Exhibition,” Montgomery Gallery, Pomona College, Pomona, California
1987: “Insights,” Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California
1986: R.C. Erpf Gallery, New York, New York
1986: “Recent Paintings,” Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica, California
1986: “Karl Benjamin: Selected Works 1979 - 1986,” January 28 - March 2, 1986, Los Angeles Municipal Art Galleries, Barnsdall Park, Los Angeles, California
1986: Hemmerdinger Gallery, Palm Springs, California
1985: “Ten California Colorists: Painting by Eight Contemporary California Artists,” San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, California; Palm Springs, California; Pomona College Museum of Art, Montgomery Art Center, Pomona, California; Redding Museum and Art Center, Shasta College, Redding, California
1985: “Color Forms,” Gallery at the Plaza, Security Pacific National Bank, Los Angeles, California
1984: “Color, Color, Color,” Henry Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
1984: “A Focus on California, Selections from the Permanent Collection,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
1984: “The Twentieth Century: The SFMA,” San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California
1983: Chrysalis Gallery, Claremont, California
1983: "Karl Benjamin: Recent Paintings," June 3 - 30, 1983, Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, Washington
1982 - 1983: "Four Abstract Classicists," November 16, 1982 - January 14, 1983, Toby C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1982: "Karl Benjamin: New Paintings," October 23 - November 20, 1982, Stella Polaris Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1982: Color in Contemporary Painting, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
1981: “Pacific Coast Museum Selection,” National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
1981: Abraxas Gallery, Newport Beach, California
1981: “Karl Benjamin: Paintings of the Fifties,” March 23 - April 18, 1981, Art Gallery, Seaver College, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California
1981: Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, Washington
1980: “Survey 1970-1980,” University of Redlands, Redlands, California
1980: Cheney-Cowles Museum, Spokane, Washington
1980: Sheehan Gallery, Whitman College, Washington
1980: Tortue Gallery, Santa Monica, California
1980: “West Coast: Art for the Vice-President's House,” San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California; Washington, D.C.
1979: “Art, Inc.: American Paintings from Corporate Collections,” The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Montgomery, Alabama; Indianapolis, Indiana; San Diego, California
1979: “Los Angeles Abstract Painting,” University of California, Riverside, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico
1978 - 1979: Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, Washington
1975 - 1979: Tortue Gallery, Santa Monica, California
1977: “The 35th Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting,” The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1977: “Los Angeles Hard Edge: The Fifties and Seventies,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
1977: “4 From California,” Dorothy Rosenthal Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1976: “Painting and Sculpture in California: the Modern Era,” San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California; National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1972: Peppers Art Center, University of Redlands, Redlands, California
1971: William Sawyer Gallery, San Francisco, California
1971: “Pacific Cities Loan Exhibition,” Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
1970: Lo Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, California
1969: “Los Angeles Annual Art Exhibition,” Municipal Art Galleries, Barnsdall Park, Los Angeles, California
1968: Henri Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1968: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California
1967: “30th Biennial Exhibition of American Painting,” The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1967: The White House, Washington, D.C.
1966: “85th Annual Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Institute,” San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California
1966: “American Painting,” Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia
1966: “Art Across America,” Mead Corporation, M. Knoedler & Co., New York, New York; Toledo, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Hartford, Connecticut; Cincinnati, Ohio; New Orleans, Louisiana; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1966: “The Colorists, 1950-1965,” San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California
1966: “California Artists,” Witte Memorial Museum, San Antonio, Texas
1966: “Survey of Contemporary Art,” Speed Museum of Art, Louisville, Kentucky
1966: Denver Museum Annual, Denver Museum of Art, Denver, Colorado
1964 - 1966: Hollis Galleries, San Francisco, California
1965: “The Responsive Eye,” Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; St. Louis, Missouri; Seattle, Washington; Pasadena, California; Baltimore, Maryland
1965: Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, California
1964: “New Accessions, USA,” Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado
1960 - 1964: Esther-Robles Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1962: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California
1962: “50 California Artists,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Buffalo, New York; Des Moines, Iowa
1962: “Geometric Abstraction in America,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; Boston, Massachusetts
1962: “The Artist's Environment West Coast,” Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Oakland, California
1961: Bolles Gallery, San Francisco, California
1961: La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, California
1961: “Painting from the Pacific United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand,” Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand
1960: “West Coast Hard Edge,” Institute of Contemporary Art, London, England; Queen College, Belfast, Ireland
1960: “Purist Painting," American Federation of Arts, New York, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Ithaca, New York
1960: Florence Rand Lang Art Galleries (Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery), Scripps College, Claremont, California
1959: Esther-Robles Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1959: “4 Abstract Classicists,” Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, California; San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California
1959: “New Talent, American Federation of Arts,” Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, Kansas; New York, New York; Washington, D.C.
1958: Occidental College, Los Angeles, California
1957: “California Drawings,” Pomona College, Pomona, California; Riverside, California
1956: “Art in Architecture,” Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1956: Peppers Art Center, University of Redlands, Redlands, California
1955: 10th Annual Newport Harbor Exhibit, Newport Beach, California
1955: Jack Carr Gallery, Pasadena, California
1954: Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California
1954: “Artists Should Know,” Los Angeles Art Association, Los Angeles, California
1953: Falk-Raboff Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1953: Peppers Art Center, University of Redlands, Redlands, California

Collections
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, California
San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California
Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, Connecticut
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California
Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, Utah
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California
Fine Art Gallery of San Diego, San Diego, California
Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, California
Seattle Museum of Modern Art, Seattle, Washington
Newport Harbor Art Museum (Orange County Museum of Art), Newport Beach, California
Israel Museum of Modern Art, Jerusalem, Israel
University of Nebraska, Sheldon Memorial Gallery (Sheldon Museum of Art), Lincoln, Nebraska
Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art (Museum of Contemporary Art), Los Angeles, California
Cheney Cowles State Museum (Eastern Washington State Historical Society, Cheney Cowles Museum), Spokane, Washington
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
University of Washington, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, Washington
University of Redlands, Redlands, California
Pomona College, Claremont, California
Scripps College, Claremont, California
Pitzer College, Claremont, California
Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California
Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California
Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, California
Oakland Art Museum (Oakland Museum of California), Oakland, California
Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, California
Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California
Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington
Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada
Washington State University, Pullman, Washington
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina
Houston Museum of Fine Art (Museum of Fine Arts Houston), Houston, Texas
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, Utah

Awards
1983: Grant for Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts
1989: Grant for Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts

Work History
1953 - 1977: Public School Teacher, Chino, California

Education
1960: M.A., Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California
1949: B.A., University of Redlands, Redlands, California
1943: Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Born
1925, Chicago, Illinois


Artist Objects

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