Fletcher Benton (American, b.1931), born in Jackson, OH, moved to San Francisco in the 1960s after receiving a BFA from Miami University, Oxford, OH, in 1956. In San Francisco, he taught at California College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco Art Institute, and California State University. In his own work, he focused on geometric associations that are apparent in his later, large-scale sculptural works. Benton taught himself sign painting as a young man, and, through this process, became enthralled with the inherent geometric forms that comprise the letters he was painting. Benton initially experimented with abstract painting, but the limitations of the medium drove him toward kinetic sculpture.

Throughout his oeuvre, Benton plays with shapes, lines, balance, and movement to create gravity-defying sculptures of all sizes, as well as abstract geometric works on paper. Benton began his celebrated Alphabet series—comprised of 26 large-scale steel sculptures of the letters of the alphabet—in the 1970s, and the kinetic aspect of his sculptures became less important than its form and medium. In his manipulation of a two-dimensional sheet of metal into a three-dimensional painted steel sculpture, Benton brought a particular life to these letters, imbuing these stationary pieces with the kinetic energy found in his earlier work. In 2008, Benton received the International Sculpture Center Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.

Timeline

1931
Born in Jackson, OH
1953–1956
BFA, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
1956
Moved to California
1959–1966
Teacher at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA
1966
Teacher at San Francisco Art Institute
1979
Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts American Academy & Institute of Arts & Letters
1980
President's Scholar Award California State University, San Jose, CA
1982
Award of Honor for Outstanding Achievement, San Francisco Art Commission
1967–1986
Teacher at California State University San José, CA
1993
Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Miami University, Oxford, OH
1994
Ohioana Library Award for a Meritorious Career that has added Luster and Distinction to the Heritage of the State and Nation, Columbus, Ohio
1994
Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Rio Grande University, OH
2008
Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, International Sculpture Center, Hamilton, NJ

Exhibitions

2011
Alphabet, Georg Kolbe Museum, Berlin, Germany
2009
Cool! Cool! Cool! Cool!, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago IL
2009
Cool! Cool! Cool! Cool!, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago IL
2008
SOFA CHICAGO 2008, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago IL
2008
Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
2008
SOFA CHICAGO 2008, Jean Albano Gallery, ChicagoIL
2008
Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2007
“The Circus Revisited,” Imago Galleries, Palm Desert, CA
2007
“The Armory Show,” 7th Regiment Armory, New York, NY
2007
“An Architect Collects: Robert D. Kleinschmidt & a Lifetime of Fine Arts Acquisitions,” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2007
“Made in California,” Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA
2007
“The Circus Revisited,” Imago Galleries, Palm Desert, CA (solo)
2007
“An Architect Collects: Robert D. Kleinschmidt & a Lifetime of Fine Arts Acquisitions,” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2007
“Made in California,” Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA
2006
“Five Centuries of Art: The 11th Annual Los Angeles Art Show,” Santa Monica, CA
2006
“Art Karlsruhe,” Karlsruhe, Germany
2006
“Letters & Numbers,” Riva Yares Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ (solo)
2006
“Five Centuries of Art: The 11th Annual Los Angeles Art Show,” Santa Monica, CA
2006
“Art Karlsruhe,” Karlsruhe, Germany
2006
“Letters & Numbers,” Riva Yares Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2005
“Drawings, Maquettes, & Models of Large-Scale Sculpture,” Tasende Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
2005
“Paint on Metal,” Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
2005
“Art 36 Basel,” Basel, Switzerland
2005
‘Highlights: New Acquisitions,” John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2005
“Drawings, Maquettes, & Models of Large-Scale Sculpture,” Tasende Gallery, West Hollywood, CA (solo)
2005
“Paint on Metal,” Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
2005
“Art 36 Basel,” Basel, Switzerland
2005
‘Highlights: New Acquisitions,” John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2004
“The 179th Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art,” National Academy Museum, New York, NY
2004
“Dovetailing Art & Life: The Bennett Collection,” San Francisco Museum of Craft & Design, CA
2004
“The 179th Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art,” National Academy Museum, New York, NY
2004
“Dovetailing Art & Life: The Bennett Collection,” San Francisco Museum of Craft & Design, CA
2003
Navy Pier Walk, Chicago, IL
2003
“Beyond the Surface 2,” Art & Cultural Center at Fallbrook, CA
2003
“Art Cologne,” Cologne, Germany
2003
Navy Pier Walk, Chicago, IL
2003
“Beyond the Surface 2,” Art & Cultural Center at Fallbrook, CA
2003
“Art Cologne,” Cologne, Germany
2002
“Art Bodensee 2002: ‘San Francisco Bay Area’,” Kunstler aus Kalifornien, Dornbirn, Austria
2002
“On Ramps: Transitional Moments in California Art,” Pasadena Museum of California Art, CA
2002
Galerie B. Haasner, Wiesbaden, Germany (solo)
2002
“Wired: Art that Moves,” Miami Art Museum, FL
2002
Navy Pier Walk, Chicago, IL
2002
“Art Bodensee 2002: ‘San Francisco Bay Area’,” Kunstler aus Kalifornien, Dornbirn, Austria
2002
“On Ramps: Transitional Moments in California Art,” Pasadena Museum of California Art, CA
2002
“Wired: Art that Moves,” Miami Art Museum, FL
2002
Galerie B. Haasner, Wiesbaden, Germany
2001
Galerie B. Haasner, Wiesbaden, Germany
2001
The Art Show, 7th Regiment Armory, New York, NY
2001
Tasende Gallery, ADAA/The Art Show, New York, NY
2001
Tasende Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2001
Tasende Gallery, LaJolla, CA
2001
"Art Chicago", Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
2001
“Spektrum Kunstlandschaft,” Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Germany
2001
“Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
2001
“Welded! Sculpture of the 20th Century,” Neuberger Museum of Art, New York, NY
2001
“Chicago Collectors Select,” Absolute Vision V, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2001
"Art Chicago", Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
2001
“Spektrum Kunstlandschaft,” Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Germany
2001
“Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
2001
“Welded! Sculpture of the 20th Century,” Neuberger Museum of Art, New York, NY
2001
“Chicago Collectors Select,” Absolute Vision V, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2001
Galerie B. Haasner, Wiesbaden, Germany (solo)
2001
The Art Show, 7th Regiment Armory, New York, NY (solo)
2000
Imago Gallery, Palm Springs, CA (solo)
2000
Chicago Collectors Select, Absolute Vision V, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2000
Chicago Collectors Select, Absolute Vision V, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2000
Imago Gallery, Palm Springs, CA
1999
Sheldon Museum, Lincoln, NE
1999
“Exhibition of ISC Collection II,” International Sculpture Center, Chicago, IL
1999
“The Museum Collects: Treasures of Twenty Years,” Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, OH
1999
“The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair,” Grosvenor House, London
1999
“Exhibition of ISC Collection II,” International Sculpture Center, Chicago, IL
1999
“The Museum Collects: Treasures of Twenty Years,” Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, OH
1999
“The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair,” Grosvenor House, London
1999
Sheldon Museum, Lincoln, NE (solo)
1998
Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
1998
Tasende Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
1998
Rive Yares Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ (solo)
1998
“Floating Forms,” Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, OH
1998
“Floating Forms,” Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, OH
1998
Tasende Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1998
Tasende Gallery, La Jolla, CA
1998
Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
1998
Rive Yares Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
1997
Galerie Simonne Stern New Orleans, LA
1997
“Theater of Art,” Riva Yares Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
1997
Drawing Invitational, Galerie Simonne Stern New Orleans, LA
1997
Simone Stern Galerie, New Orleans, LA (solo)
1996
John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
1996
Made in Ohio, Miami Art Museum Oxford, OH
1996
Klingspor Museum Offenbach, Germany
1995
Dorothy Goldeen Gallery Santa Monica, CA
1994
University of Rio Grande Rio Grande, OH
1993
Gothaer Kunstforum Cologne, Germany
1993
Table Sculpture, Andre Emmerich Gallery New York, NY
1992
American Artists in Jewelry, Elizabeth Michaels Gallery Washington, D.C.
1991
Florence-Santa Clara: Two Schools of Sculpture, Triton Museum Santa Clara, CA
1991
Sung Dam Fine Arts Seoul, Korea
1990
Picasso, Gravuren and Fletcher Benton Sculpturen, Einladung in das Mathias Spital Rheine, Germany
1989
John Berggruen Gallery San Francisco, CA
1988
Dorothy Golden Gallery Santa Monica, CA
1987
Haasner Gallery Wiesbaden, Germany
1987
Harcus Gallery Boston, MA
1987
Arts Irvine 1987 Irvine, CA
1986
Laguna College of Art Laguna Beach, CA
1986
Thomas Babeor Gallery La Jolla, CA
1986
John Berggruen Gallery San Francisco, CA
1985
Harcus Gallery Boston
1985
Fresno Arts Center Fresno, CA
1984
Yares Gallery Scottsdale, AZ
1984
Thomas Babeor Gallery La Jolla, CA
1984
Fresno Art Center Fresno, CA
1984
John Berggruen Gallery San Francisco, CA
1982
San Jose Musuem of Art San Jose, CA
1981
John Berggruen Gallery San Francisco, CA
1981
Yares Gallery Scottsdale, AZ
1981
Klingspor Museum Offenbach, Germany
1980
California State University San Jose, CA
1980
John Berggruen Gallery San Francsico, CA
1980
Suermont- Ludwig Museum Aachen, Germany
1980
University Art Museum, Miami University Oxford, OH
1980
Milwaukee Art Center Milwaukee, WI
1980
Oakland Musuem Oakland, CA
1980
Muscatine Art Center Muscatine, IA
1980
Newport Harbor Museum Newport Beach, IA
1980
Portland Art Museum Portland, OR
1979
American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters New York, NY
1979
The Art Club of Chicago Chicago, IL
1979
Grossman College El Cajon, CA
1978
Tortue Gallery Los Angeles, CA
1978
San Jose Museum of Art San Jose, CA
1977
University Art Gallery, Cal. State University Fresno, CA
1975
de Saisset Museum, Univeristy of Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA
1975
Gallery Smith - Anderson San Francisco, CA
1973
Galeria Bonino, Ltd. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1973
Phoenix Museum of Art Phoenix, AZ
1973
University Art Museum Davis, CA
1972
La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art La Jolla, CA
1972
Esther Robles Gallery Los Angeles, CA
1972
Landry - Bonino Gallery, Ltd. New York, NY
1971
The Stanford University Art Museum Stanford, CA
1970
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art San Francisco, CA
1970
Albright - Knox Museum Buffalo, NY
1970
Berkeley Art Center Berkeley, CA
1970
Estudio Actual Caracas, Venezuela
1970
London Arts Gallery Detroit, MI
1970
University Art Gallery Chico, CA
1970
Reed College Portland, OR
1970
Galeria Bonino Buenos Aires, Argentina
1969
Galerie Francoise Mayer Brussels, Belgium
1969
Galeria Bonino New York, NY
1968
Humboldt State College Arcata, CA
1968
Galeria Bonino, Ltd. NEw York, NY
1968
Galeria Bonino, Ltd. New York, NY
1967
San Francisco Art Institute San Francisco, CA
1967
Sonoma State University Rohnert Park, CA
1967
Esther Robles Gallery Los Angeles, CA
1966
Hansen Gallery San Francisco,CA
1966
Esther Robles Gallery Los Angeles, CA
1965
San Francisco Museum of Art San Francisco, CA
1962
Ditenfass Gallery New York, NY
1961
California Palace of the Legion of Honor San Francisco, CA
1961
Gump's Gallery San Francisco, CA

Public Collections

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, Hamilton, OH
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
San Jose State University Sculpture Garden, San Jose, CA
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NB
Stanford University Museum of Art, Stanford, CA
University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, CA
University of California, Irvine, CA
University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
University of Rio Grande, Rio Grande, OH
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL
Kröller-Müller Museum and Sculpture Garden, Otterlo, the Netherlands
La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Milwaukee Art Center, Milwaukee, WI
Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
Neuberger Museum, State University of New York at Purchase, NY
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA
Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT
Anderson Collection, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
City of Offenbach, Germany
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ
Hartwood Acres Sculpture Park, Pittsburgh, PA
Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Klingspor Museum, Offenbach, Germany

Literature

2009
Ratcliff, Carter, Chattopadhyay Collette, and Leisegang, Jolei. "Fletcher Benton: An American Artist." New York: Hudson Hills
2009
Selz, Peter, Chattopadhyay Collette, Ghirardo Diane. "Fletcher Benton: The Kinetic Years." New York: Hudson Hills
2003
Ratcliff, Carter, and David Finn. "Fletcher Benton." New York: Ruder-Finn Press
2001
Neubert, George, Peter Selz, Gerhard Kohlberg, and Phyllis Tuchman. "The New Constructivism of Fletcher Benton." Lausanne: Editions Acatos
1991
Lucie-Smith, Edward, and Paul Karlstrom. "Fletcher Benton." New York: Harry N. Abrams