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Karl Benjamin

(1925 - 2012)
Born on December 29, 1925, in Chicago, Benjamin joined the Pomona College faculty as artist-in-residence in 1979, following a 20-year career teaching in public elementary and middle school. He was appointed the Loren Babcock Miller Professor of Fine Arts in 1991. When he retired in 1994, he was granted emeritus status.

A school principal and his elementary students led Benjamin to painting. The principal told him that he needed to include 45 minutes of art instruction in his classes. So, according to a 2007 Los Angeles Times article, “I brought some crayons and paper, and the kids drew trucks, trees, mountains. That was boring, so I said, no trucks, no trees.’” And, according to the article, the students began to do work that really interested him.

Benjamin began to paint in the 1950s. Experimenting with oils leading him to Claremont Graduate University and a MFA degree. Benjamin is a member of the California Hard Edge group, along with Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, and John McLaughlin.

Benjamin’s paintings have been exhibited throughout the U.S. and are part of collections that include the National Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions include retrospectives at the Claremont Museum of Art and the Oceanside Museum of Art, and inclusion in several Pacific Standard Time exhibitions in Southern California, including the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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