DescriptionTHOMAS DUNCAN BENRIMO (American, 1887-1958)
Running Man, circa 1918-25
Oil on canvas
30 x 24 inches (76.2 x 61.0 cm)
PROPERTY FROM THE KING COLLECTION, TEXAS
Mrs. Kosky, New York, acquired from the attic of the above, circa 1960;
Bob Kosky, South Carolina, son of the above, by descent;
Valley House Gallery, Dallas, acquired from the above;
Peyton Wright Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, acquired from the above;
Acquired by the present owner from the above, July 2011.
Fort Worth Art Center in cooperation with Valley House Gallery, Texas, and elsewhere, "An Exhibition of the Work of Tom Benrimo, 1887-1958," 1965;
El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, "Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection," September 8, 2013-January 5, 2014, no. 71.
P.S. Cable, Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection, exhibition catalogue, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, 2013, pp. 177-78, no. 71, illustrated.
Thomas Duncan Benrimo is an obscure and extremely rare early American Modernist painter. His body of work first received scholarly attention by William Innes Homer in his 1975 groundbreaking show, Avant-Garde Painting and Sculpture in America 1910-1925, the first comprehensive presentation of various forms of early twentieth-century American modernism.
Little is known about Benrimo's early artistic training and efforts. He was born in San Francisco in 1887. As a child and into his late teens, he was very interested in art. Unfortunately, his early artistic efforts were lost in 1906 when his family's home was destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake. Shortly thereafter, at nineteen years of age, Benrimo and his family moved to New York City where his older brother worked as an actor in the theater.
Initially, Benrimo found employment as a commercial artist and draftsman. Some of his artistic renderings were published in Scribner's magazine. In 1911, he became involved in stage set design for various theater productions.
In addition to his commercial endeavors, Benrimo continued his personal painting career. He was profoundly affected by the Armory Show in 1913 and subsequently, he enrolled in the Art Students League at some point during those early years in New York. While in New York, Benrimo became close friends with Preston Dickinson, who attended the Art Students League from 1906 until 1910 before traveling to Europe. Benrimo taught at the Pratt Institute from 1935 until 1939, when he moved to Taos, New Mexico. There, he was a friend of Mabel Dodge, Andrew Dasburg, Rebecca James and Emil Bisttram. Benrimo died in Taos, in 1958.
Running Man is one of only six Cubo-Futuristic works by the artist known to exist. It was discovered circa 1960 in the attic of a New York house that Benrimo had once rented. It is believed that the artist destroyed most of his earlier work by 1939 when he moved with his family to Taos.
Dr. Patrick Shaw Cable eloquently describes Running Man: "With its irregularly faceted planes and inherent sense of figural and spatial movement, the painting is [a clear example] of a "Cubo-Futurist' approach. The picture stands as a rare extant early work, in which Benrimo embraced modernist innovations he had experienced as a fundamental revelation at the 1913 Armory Show" (P.S. Cable, Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection, exhibition catalogue, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, 2013, p. 177).
Canvas is lined. There does not appear to be visible evidence of inpainting; however, it is diffiicult to read under UV examination. Faint stretcher mark visible along top edge. This painting is framed using Optium (museum acrylic glazing), which provides clear legibility for examination with both white light and black light. In order to maintain the integrity and airtight sealing of the housing, the painting was not viewed out of the frame for the condition report. Should you wish to have a more extensive report, we recommend firsthand inspection by a professional conservator. For assistance, please contact the department.
*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.
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