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 Benson Bond Moore  (1882 - 1974)

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Lived/Active: District Of Columbia/Florida      Known for: rural landscape and wildlife painting, illustration, etching

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BIOGRAPHY for Benson Moore
1882 (Washington District Of Columbia)
1974 (Sarasota, Florida)

District Of Columbia/Florida

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rural landscape and wildlife painting, illustration, etching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography is provided by Stephanie A. Strass. In 1996, she was Guest Curator in Hagerstown, Maryland for the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts exhibit titled: "The Landscapes of Benson Bond Moore."

Benson Bond Moore, landscape and animal-portrait painter, and etcher, was born in Washington DC and lived there for seventy years. He became a noted painter of scenes of nature, and his style early in his career showed the Barbizon School influence but later became more Impressionist and less Tonalist. His snow scenes were especially popular.

He was raised in the art world, learning framing and restoration from his father, who did this type of work for leading political figures in the nation's capitol city.

Benson studied at the Linthicum Institute and at the Corcoran School of Art with Edmund Messer, Richard Brooke and Max Weyl, teachers who were part of the late-nineteenth century landscape school.

In 1902, he began work with the Maurice Joyce Photo-Engraving Company in Washington D.C., and there he worked with Dr. Alexander Graham Bell by making drawings to develop hearing aids for the deaf. He also did drawings for Dr. Emile Berliner, inventor of the graphophone, and for the Smithsonian. He taught etching both privately and in the art school of the sculptor Clara Hill.

With Charles Seaton, Winfield Clime and Edwin Cassedy, he became a founding member of an informal group of Washington painters who called themselves "The Ramblers Sketch Club." Together with others, many of them "Sunday painters," they roamed the surrounding countryside, painted and then critiqued each other's work. In 1920, the group evolved into the respected Washington Landscape Club that included many big-name art figures and with whom Moore often exhibited.

He belonged to more than forty arts organizations and was a founding member of The Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Society of Washington D.C., which held its inaugural exhibition in 1931 at the Corcoran. He had many one-man shows, a highlight being in 1928 at the Corcoran Gallery with his etchings, drypoints, and lithographs.

From childhood, he had sketched animals, often at the National Zoo, and in later years he did over 3700 illustrations of animals in the newspaper, "The Evening Star's" series entitled "Nature's Children." He also did numerous paintings for the Smithsonian that were reproduced in their "Scientific Series."

He also did much restoration work, including paintings by Thomas Moran and paintings in the rotunda of the Capitol. This activity occupied him primarily from the 1940s, and in the early 1950s, after his wife died, he moved to Sarasota, Florida. There his sister-in-law cared for him as his eyesight increasingly failed, but he painted almost to the end of his life, November 1, 1974.

Biography from Newman Galleries:
Benson Bond Moore was a true native of the Mid-Atlantic region.  Born in Washington, D.C., he lived there for 70 years but regarded the surrounding countryside as his neighborhood.  He covered many a mile of it, usually on foot, during his painting forays.

In his youth, the D.C. area suburbs were outlying villages, surrounded by largely undeveloped countryside and crisscrossed with streams.  Moore did not have to go very far from downtown Washington to find himself amid woods and fields. He and his artist friends spent many happy hours climbing through underbrush and fording streams, and always sketching, in their rambles.

Moore’s lifelong love affair with nature is evident in his landscapes and in his many works depicting animal life.  He devoted his life to capturing the beauties of the natural world; one wonders if he wasn’t dismayed by the encroaching development that he viewed even during his lifetime.

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