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Rainey Bennett

Evening Glow

Rainey Bennett’s Evening Glow is a romantic view of a neighborhood cloaked in winter snow. The subject matter, though mundane, becomes extraordinary through the artist’s clever application of line and his technical mastery of watercolor. By directing the angle of every curb, tree limb, apartment building, and wall toward the church in the center of the image, Bennett implies that religion is at the heart of this particular city enclave.

Despite his obvious skill as a painter, Bennett’s success was modest. He earned his living as a commercial illustrator, teacher, and, later in life, author of children’s books. He trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, then the Art Students League in New York and painted murals for the Works Progress Administration until he was picked up by the Downtown Gallery in New York City in the late 1930s. Bennett’s evocative watercolors captured the attention of Nelson Rockefeller, president of Standard Oil. In 1939, Rockefeller commissioned the artist to travel to Venezuela to paint publicity images of the landscape. The resulting exhibition was so successful that Bennett spent the next two years traveling across the Americas, painting every state or nation where Standard Oil held interests.

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