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American & European Paintings - September 2008
 
 
painting
 
Ben Austrian
(American, 1870–1921)
Chicks in a Basket, 1911
Oil on canvas, 10 × 12 inches

Signed and dated at lower right: “Ben Austrian.1911”
RS 6280


Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Ben Austrian taught himself how to paint at an early age and worked for his father’s steam laundry and dry goods store. He sold the business shortly after his father died in 1897 and became a highly successful artist who specialized in painting barnyard scenes peopled by chicks. Austrian went to Europe in 1902 and opened studios in Paris and London. He returned to Reading, worked in Berks County, and later wintered in Palm Beach, Florida. Austrian is best remembered for the advertisements he made for the Bon Ami Company that represented chicks with his wife Molly posing as a housewife using the cleanser that “hasn’t scratched yet.” This painting is a typical example of Austrian’s chick subjects.


  


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