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 Martin Benka  (1888 - 1971)

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Lived/Active: Slovakia      Known for: modernist landscape painting, illustration, typography

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Martin Benka (21 September 1888, Kostolište - 28 June 1971, Malacky) was a Slovak painter and illustrator.  He is regarded as the founder of Modernist* 20th century Slovak painting, and was given the title National Artist.  He is buried in the National Cemetery in Martin.

Benka's ornamental style, influenced by folk art, contrasted sharply with the functional and purist approach of the German Bauhaus* and Soviet avant-garde* movements of that time. A contemporary of the famous Czech generation of cubist* artists, Benka lived in Prague for 30 years.

Benka, along with Ludovít Fulla, Mikulás Galanda, and the Czech Jaroslav Vodrážka created Modernist Slovak typography*. He was a prolific creator of different fonts* - between 40 and 60 of them.

Whilst searching for characteristic features, forms and colours of Slovakia, Benka would visit regions where people lived simply, in communion with nature. Benka would often travel around the countryside, documenting rural life and nature in his works, many of which he did outdoors and spontaneously. In addition to this, Benka built himself a country house, which is today the The Martin Benka Museum as outlined in his will, in which he bequeathed his work to the state.

Paintings
    •    Rieka Orava (The Orava River)
    •    Jesen na Spiši (Fall in Spiš)
    •    Dve ženy (Two women)
    •    Na pole (Into the Field)
    •    Drevári pod Dumbierom (Woodcutters below Dumbier Mountain)
    •    Za umením (On the quest for art)
    •    Po búrke (After the storm)

Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Benka

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

One of the most important figures in Slovak modernism in the first half of the 20th century, Martin Benka (1888-1971), gained much of his inspiration from the Slovak countryside and its people.

He would stroll across the hills and valleys of his homeland, paintbrush or pencil in hand, seeking spiritual succour as well as subjects to paint. He would stop and gaze in wonder, captivated by the beauty of nature.

A collection of the artist's works can now be seen at the Martin Benka Museum in Martin. Benka was a versatile artist, mainly a painter and illustrator.

Whilst searching for characteristic features, forms and colours of Slovakia, he would visit regions where people lived simply, in communion with nature. The records of these travels, studies of the Slovak landscape and the pictures he painted, are not simply recreations of what he saw, but are infused with the emotions he experienced.

Nature also contributed to the creation of Benka's style. The love that he felt for the country is reflected in the harmony with which he depicted the Slovak mountains as they changed appearance from season to season as well as in the way he captured the beauty of the hidden corners of Slovakia's varied landscape.

The Martin Benka Museum is located in the house where the artist lived and worked from 1959 to 1971. The permanent exhibition shows the house's authentic interior and part of Benka's extensive work, which numbers in the thousands.

Source:
The Slovak Spectator, http://spectator.sme.sk/articles/view/18492

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

A book about the artist is Benka by Marion Vaross. Published by TVAR, underneath that is VYTVARNE  NAKLADATELSTVO BRATISLAVA, year 1952.  It has a jacket cover  with one of his paintings. The jacket cover is in fair condition, the book is in good condition. On one of the first few blank pages of the book is an original signature, Martin Benka. He must have signed it and given it to one of the family members here.

Courtesy, Mary Anne Conroy

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