BENN (1905 - 1989)

Russian Fed.

    BENN (1905 - 1989)
    LOVE AND PEACE, 1985

    Triptych - acrylic painting on canvas
    250  x 700  cm

    Date of entry at UNESCO

    Donation made to UNESCO by the artist in 1987

    Country of origin
      Russian Fed.

    © All rights reserved
    © Photo: UNESCO/C. Bablin

    Click on the images to enlarge

    Ever since 1966, Benn had wanted to create a work in homage to UNESCO. In 1979, after an exhibition on the “Foundation for Peace” held at UNESCO, he created the poster “Justice and Peace Kissing” for the Organization, for which he received the International Poster Prize in 1983. In 1982, Benn exhibited his seventy-two “Premonitory drawings” in which he illustrated all the horrors of war. Held within the framework of UNESCO, this exhibition had a large impact, even more so because of the large-scaled work that Benn had decided to include on the theme of “Love and Peace”.
    The mural painting “Love and peace” in UNESCO’s collection was painted in 1985. Spirituality is here combined with conciseness; the three individual sections keep the same composition but present variations in the color scheme. The hues are soft and the shapes light and simple, so as to communicate an atmosphere of peace and love. Whether on a Biblical or secular level, the two themes remained among Benn’s main concerns.

    Artist Biography
    Born in Belostok (Russia) in 1905, Benn (Benejou Rabinowicz) settled down in Paris in 1929, where he followed and took in the various art forms and styles of the time. Jean Cocteau said of him that he was “a painter faithful to his style and who does not try to rejuvenate himself. Immobile and wise, at the epicenter of a cyclone of shapes and colors”. Benn exhibited for the first time in 1931, at the Epoque Gallery, and studied under Fernand Léger. In 1932, an exhibition of his work was held at the Katia Granof Gallery. That same year, he became member of the “Salon d’Automne” and later the “Salon des Indépendants”, in 1935. He was awarded the French Artists Gold Medal in 1956.
    Greatly affected by the war, which destroyed his family of Jewish origin, Benn turned towards the Bible. In order to sensitize the spectator to the holy text, he interpreted it with a simple and humane expression that surpassed the borders of religion. In Montparnasse, he quickly became part of the School of Paris group of painters; he lived and worked in that area up until his death in 1989.
    Benn is particularly known for his paintings of Biblical inspiration, such as his illustrations of the Psalms and Song of Songs. In his work, he continually searched for an image of a harmonious, lyrical, and above all, spiritual, world.

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