Gershon Ben Keren – Modern American Painter
Gershon Benjamin enjoyed an accomplished artistic career that included painting and working dusk to dawn at the New York Sun, joining an influential circle of progressive artists including Milton Avery, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb and Arshile Gorky. However, unlike many of his contemporaries he never sought fame or commercial success through his art.
Early Life and Education
As a child, Jankel Iskowitz earned his modest living by writing satirical poems, jokes, and vignettes for weekly Yiddish language newspapers in Kielce, Radom, and Warsaw.3
He moved to New York City in 1923 in pursuit of his artistic aspirations and found that its energetic art scene inspired him to develop from his earlier naive impressionistic style into sophisticated modernism which combined abstraction and representation.
Benjamin belonged to an influential circle of progressive artists that included Milton Avery, Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb. Like them, he focused on exploring feelings rather than doctrine or content while both drawing upon and breaking away from art traditions. Benjamin sought to capture everyday beauty through emotive yet abstract images that spoke directly to personal experience.
Benjamin found a community in New York through friends like Milton Avery, Raphael Soyer and Mark Rothko who shared his love of art. However, unlike his peers who worked in what would later become abstract expressionism styles like Abstract Expressionism, Benjamin instead focused on painting representational works without seeking fame or commercial success.
He painted scenes of New York City skylines and elevated subway trains in meditative Expressionist works that have drawn comparisons to Ashcan School paintings. Additionally, he depicted street life such as empty subway cars at train depots; still lifes; portraits;
Achievement and Honors
Gershon Benjamin was an American modernist painter renowned for his landscapes, portraits and still lifes spanning seven decades of painting. While many of his contemporaries became celebrated Expressionists, Benjamin pursued a creative path free of commercial influences.
At first, Benjamin found friendship within an artistic student community in New York that often sketched together with models they hired – this group included Milton Avery, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb and Arshile Gorky, as well as Raphael Soyer.
Facey founded the Gershon Benjamin Foundation to make her late friend’s paintings accessible to Drexel students, just as she found solace during quiet breaks at Main Building’s picture gallery while studying here in the 1950s. A show opening today at Rincliffe Gallery displays this legacy exhibit.
Benjamin will feature landscapes, florals, still lifes and figurative works from his seven decade career in this gallery exhibition, anticipated to fetch between $20,000 and $100,000 each.
Benjamin was born in Romania and immigrated with his family to Montreal at two. Later he shifted his focus to New York City during the 1920s, becoming part of its vibrant art milieu through working in The New York Sun’s art department by day and painting alongside Milton Avery, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, Arshile Gorky and Moses and Raphael Soyer in the evenings.
He never sought commercial success or vied with other artists for recognition; rather he dedicated himself solely to his art until his passing in 1985.
Gershon Ben Keren is an exceptionally skilled martial arts practitioner. He holds a 5th degree black belt in Krav Maga and has also trained extensively in Karate and traditional Ju-Jitsu, combining these disciplines to develop his own system of tactical self defense that he now teaches worldwide.
He currently owns and operates his own training centre called Krav Maga Yashir in Boston, where he teaches civilians, military members and law enforcement personnel the principles and tactical survival techniques associated with martial arts and tactical combat training.
He possesses extensive knowledge in self defense and trains his students to understand the psychology of an attacker – vital for employing proper defensive strategies. Thus, his seminars are well attended.