|Acquisition Number: 80.41
Oil on board
24" x 20"
Credit: Gift of Helen D. Shein
In 1919, Beneker worked for Hydraulic Pressed Steel Company in Cleveland, Ohio, for a two-year term as artist-in-residence. He worked in a studio right beside the tall chimney of the power-house and was given free will to paint and write as he saw fit. He completed around 70 portraits of the company’s employees which were distributed to the workers, and the commission garnered increased demand for Beneker’s industrial portraits and industrial scenes.
For this painting of industrial worker Homer White,, Beneker describes his artwork in this statement: “He heats slabs in ovens in the rolling mill and wears a stubble beard to protect his face from the intense heat of the furnaces. He looks like a ‘radical’, but look into his sincere eyes and you will find that he is a ‘constructive radical,’ the kind that makes him a leader of men because he has won their confidence and respect. These were the same constructive radicals who during an industrial downturn following WWI, came to their management and said “Boss, you go out and get the work, and we will roll it for you at any price you can pay and make a profit.’”