Benny Andrews  (American, 1930-2006) 

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Benny Andrews (American, November 13, 1930–November 10, 2006) was a notable African American painter born to sharecroppers in Plainview, GA. His artistic talent was nurtured early on with parents who taught him the importance of creativity and education. Despite a rough time in early education, Andrews was able to graduate high school in 1948. He attended two years of Fort Valley State College. After two years of school, he left and enlisted in the US Air Force from 1950 to 1954. With his military earnings, Andrews was able to attend the University of Chicago at the Art Institute. With no formal training, he began to develop his Figurative style by observing those around him. Expression was very important in his work and was emphasized in his sketches. He crafted his skills by focusing on the time he was living in and recording it in his art, often creating scrapbooks of the times. The artist earned his BA in 1958, and moved from Chicago to New York City, after much rejection of his work in showcases.

Unlike Chicago, Andrews found great success in New York City. In 1962, Andrews had his first solo exhibition at the Forum Gallery. The New York Times and other big name papers ran positive reviews of Andrews's work, further spreading his success. His artwork was displayed in venues not only in New York City but in nearby Philadelphia as well. With time, his work spread to Detroit, Michigan, and Provincetown, RI. In 1965, Andrews was awarded a John Hay Fellowship and returned to his native Georgia. His time in Georgia inspired his famous Autobiographical Series, which in turn brought about his use of themes in his work. Following the Autobiographical Series, he created works such as America, Bicentennial, and The Migrants. Andrews's success was great as his pieces were shown internationally. He began lecturing at colleges and teaching at Queens College of the City University of New York, where he would work for 29 years.

His work didn't end with his art; he became an activist, and started an art program for prisoners. As his activism continued, he began to illustrate for his brother Raymond's books, such as Appalachee Red. Andrews never lost his Figurative style, despite the presence of other movements in the art world. He continued with his scrapbooks and paintings, never straying from his Expressionism or Surrealism elements. His work was heavily influenced by the world around him and detailed lives of the poor and the suffering. Through his activism, he brought art to many people who never would have had the opportunity to experience it. He continued painting until his death from cancer in 2006 in New York. His work can be found in many institutions, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art.

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Artworks for sale (12)
In Art Galleries (12)
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Artworks for sale (12)

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Benny Andrews, Hunters

 

Benny Andrews
Hunters
1989

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
Benny Andrews, Beholden

 

Benny Andrews
Beholden
1963

Jonathan Boos, LLC
Benny Andrews, Doing Nature

 

Benny Andrews
Doing Nature
1999

Mason Murer Fine Art
Benny Andrews, The Neighborhood

 

Benny Andrews
The Neighborhood
2004

Mason Murer Fine Art
Benny Andrews, Still Life

 

Benny Andrews
Still Life
1962

Sragow Gallery
Benny Andrews, The Hunters, Study

 

Benny Andrews
The Hunters, Study
1989

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
Benny Andrews, Down the Road

 

Benny Andrews
Down the Road
1971

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
Benny Andrews, Growing Up

 

Benny Andrews
Growing Up
1973

Sightlines
Benny Andrews, War Mementoes

 

Benny Andrews
War Mementoes
1990

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
Past auction results (142)  View All
Benny Andrews, Observer

 

Benny Andrews
Observer, 1972
engraving

 

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Benny Andrews, Birds on Shore

 

Benny Andrews
Birds on Shore
oil and collage on paper

 

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Benny Andrews, Lady in Chair

 

Benny Andrews
Lady in Chair
oil and collage on card

 

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  Born in Madison, GA
  B.F.A, School of the Art Institute, Chicago, IL
2006   Benny Andrews: Trail of Tears (The Migrant Series), ACA Galleries. New York, New York. June 17-July 15, 2006.
2004   Benny Andrews: The Migrant Series and Jan Sawka Into the Open: From Studio works, Monumental Projects and Beyond, ACA Galleries. New York, New York
2002   Benny Andrews: Interiors, ACA Galleries. New York, New York
2000   Southside Gallery. Oxford, Mississippi
2000   Benny Andrews: Shades of the Human Spirit, ACA Galleries. New York, New York
1999   The Critic Series and A Musical Interlude, ACA Galleries New York, NY
  The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  High Museum of Art Atlanta, GA
  The National Institute of Arts and Letters New York, NY
  Forum Gallery New York, NY
  The Detroit Institute of Art Detroit, MI
  ACA Galleries New York, NY
  High Museum of Art Atlanta, GA
  Dayton Art Institute Dayton, OH
  The Harriet Tubman Museum Macon, GA
  Fine Art Museum of the South Mobile, AL
  Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
  National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
  The Studio Museum in Harlem New York, NY
  Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA