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American & European Paintings - September 2008
 
 
painting
 
Benjamin Ferris Gilman
(American 1856–1934)
Roses, 1889
Oil on canvas, 22 1/8 × 13 inches
Signed and dated at lower right: “B. F. Gilman 89”
RS 5608


Benjamin Ferris Gilman was a native of New York whose mother, Julia Ferris Gilman (died 1923), had taught elementary drawing classes at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now the Moore College of Art and Design). He enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 1877, where he met his future wife, Claudine Scott (1853–1901). They married in 1878 and went to Paris to study art, where Gilman attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and exhibited at the Paris Salon between 1880 and 1882. The Gilmans returned to Philadelphia by November 1882, began to exhibit regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and became significant figures in the history of late nineteenth-century Philadelphia still-life painting.

Gilman specialized in painting floral still-life compositions such as this because Philadelphia was an active horticultural center during the Victorian era when flowers were popular subjects that were thought to communicate various moral, religious, and sentimental messages.


  


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