Gerrit Albertus Beneker
Birth Date: January 26, 1882
Death Date: October 23, 1934
Artist Gallery
Gerrit Albertus Beneker was one of the first in his family to be born in the United States. His father, Bartel Albertus Beneker, immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands. Gerrit’s interest in art, expressed at an early age, seems to have been encouraged by his father, who had given up hopes of an artistic career of his own when he immigrated to America. Gerrit married Flora Judd Van Vranken, his high school sweetheart, in September of 1907, and the couple had four children together during the course of their marriage. Gerrit and Flora Beneker moved frequently to support Gerrit’s art career. Gerrit pursued an education at the Chicago Art Institute and later transferred to the Art Students League in New York. After Beneker worked as an illustrator in New York, he studied under Charles Webster Hawthorne at the Cape Cod School of Art in 1912. After World War One began in 1914, Beneker was hired by the U.S. Navy to create posters to boost American morale. Rather than paint from a distance, Beneker mixed with the laboring men and allowed them to see his compositions as he was working. One of his most popular posters entitled, “Sure! We’ll Finish the Job!” sold more than three million copies. Beneker is best known for his genre paintings of industrial workers and expressive oil portraits. Later in his career, Beneker accepted painting commissions for companies such as the Hydraulic Pressed Steel Company in Cleveland, Ohio and General Electric in Schenectady, New York, and Rom and Haas in Philadelphia. He also served as one of the founders of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.