Girl With Black Hat
My Daughter Elisabeth 1915.
Benson was born into a rich, privileged old Salem family which certainly helped him at an early age to pursue a career as an art student in Paris. Unlike so many other young scions, he greatly benefitted from this experience and it is reflected in all of the work shown here. At the bottom of this upload is a direct quote from an art critic of the time which I hope you will find amusing.
"For my own part, it was not long before I recognized that these girls in Benson's panels were in some way an expression of the newness of the civilization in which I was learning to share; a product of the freshness of the point of view which I was becoming conscious differentiates this country from the older ones. . . .
"Then, by degrees, I began to understand their type. Almost every artist becomes identified with a certain type of female expression. It is the man in him, asserting its preference for some combination of physical qualities and, maybe, of certain mental and spiritual ones also that appeal to him most strongly. Necessarily they are the ones with which he is most intimate, and I came to know that Benson is a New-Englander, a native of Salem, Massachusetts. He still makes his home in that city and, except for his student days in Paris, has been consistently welded to the environment of his own State [sic]. Naturally, it is from the New-England strain that he has derived this type.
[Actually, he also painted on North Haven Island in Penobscot Bay, Maine.]
As he has interpreted it, the type has something of the character of a fine blooded race-horse, long in its lines, clean cut, spare of flesh, the bone and muscle felt beneath it, movement throughout accentuated -- unmistakable signs of pedigree. Psychologically also the type is a product of intensive breeding -- a cross between the exacting narrowness of Puritanism and the spiritual sensuousness and freedom of Emerson; a transcendentalism of morals and imagination, blended with a little of the questioning and unrest of modern thought. It is, indeed, a new type; strenuous with a sense of inherited responsibilities, but still having a certain air of self-compelling restraint, as it is held itself back a little in view of possibilities scarcely yet realized."
From "The Art of Frank W. Benson," by Charles H. Caffin in Harper's Monthly Magazine for June 1909