Home BCIU Art Collection Artists Solowey, Ben - Painter
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Ben Solowey

Date of Birth: 08/29/1900
Place of Birth: Warsaw, Poland
Date of Death: 05/26/1978 (Age 78)
Place of Death: Bedminster, Pennsylvania

Discipline: Painter

Biography: Ben Solowey defies easy categorization. He had an international reputation for his canvases, watercolors and drawings in a wide variety of genres and styles, yet was part of no school or movement. In 1919 at an exhibition judged by Edward Redfield, Solowey was awarded a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Upon moving to Manhattan in 1928, Solowey was commissioned by The New York Times and Herald-Tribune to capture the performing arts in New York. Solowey drew from life his subjects, such as Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier, and his nearly 900 charcoal portraits played an important role in introducing the use of halftone to newspaper reproduction. 

At the same time, his paintings were exhibited regularly at such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, alongside those of Picasso and Matisse. At the height of his acclaim for both his paintings and his theatre work, Solowey moved to Bucks County, where he would create some of his greatest work, even though the first seven years he would be without electricity and running water on his property. He proved to be a true Renaissance man, creating award-winning canvases, while at the same time building furniture, frames, and restoring the colonial farmhouse.

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