From the Vault: Alfred Bendiner

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 3:30pm -- mfarias

Our portraits may be our most visible art collection, greeting visitors in every room, but the Redwood Library is also home to several collections of artistic works on paper. This week, the spotlight falls on our holdings of the works of Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964), which were given to the Redwood Library by the Alfred and Elizabeth Bendiner Foundation in 1996. Bendiner was an architect, a muralist, a caricaturist, an author, and a world traveler whose work shows his many talents and interests with humor.

 

Eva Le Gallienne in Hedda Gabler, n.d. by Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964)
Gift of Alfred and Elizabeth Bendiner Foundation // From the Collection of the Redwood Library


Fishermen, 1942 by Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964)
Gift of Alfred and Elizabeth Bendiner Foundation // From the Collection of the Redwood Library


Alfred Bendiner was born in Pittsburgh in 1899 and he attended the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Arts before entering the Army in 1918. In 1922 he received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania and in 1927 he received his Master of Architecture from the same school. He spent the year after graduating studying architecture in Europe where he developed a love for travel that stayed with him throughout his life. He married Elizabeth Sutro in 1937 and the couple spent much of their time together traveling throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Central America.

 

Dolce far niente, 1935 by Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964)
Gift of Alfred and Elizabeth Bendiner Foundation // From the Collection of the Redwood Library


Vacation, 1942 by Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964)
Gift of Alfred and Elizabeth Bendiner Foundation // From the Collection of the Redwood Library


As a professional, Bendiner opened his architectural office in 1929 and rose to become a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, President of the Philadelphia chapter, and member of the National Academy of Design. In late 1936 to early 1937 he served as the staff artist for the University of Pennsylvania’s archaeological expedition to Tepe Gawra and Khafaji, Iraq.

 

Symphony for strings, 1945 by Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964)
Gift of Alfred and Elizabeth Bendiner Foundation // From the Collection of the Redwood Library


Sergei Rachmaninoff, 1942 by Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964)
Gift of Alfred and Elizabeth Bendiner Foundation // From the Collection of the Redwood Library


Bendiner was known for recording his travel experiences and surroundings in sketches he made while on his trips. He would draw on any surface available, including restaurant menus, and with whatever media he had at the time. His first aspiration was to become a newspaper cartoonist and he continued his interest in creating humorous art through his life. From 1917 to 1964, when he passed away, his caricatures appeared in various newspapers, specifically the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and the Washington Times-Herald.

 

Weber's Narberth, n.d. by Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964)
Gift of Alfred and Elizabeth Bendiner Foundation // From the Collection of the Redwood Library


Greetings, n.d. by Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964) 
Gift of Alfred and Elizabeth Bendiner Foundation // From the Collection of the Redwood Library


James Barton + Jack Durant, n.d. by Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964)
Gift of Alfred and Elizabeth Bendiner Foundation // From the Collection of the Redwood Library


Today, his works can be found in museums and private collections across the world, including the National Gallery of Art, the Bibliothèque Nationale, the Victoria and Albert Museum and, of course, the Redwood Library. We have held several exhibitions of his work in the past and will surely do so again, highlighting new pieces each time, but until then, his work can be viewed online at the following link: PastPerfect Online.

 

Newport, Race Week, n.d. by Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964)
Gift of Alfred and Elizabeth Bendiner Foundation // From the Collection of the Redwood Library