Benton Spruance

(American, 1904 - 1967)

After a year studying architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in his native Philadelphia, Benton Murdoch Spruance received a scholarship to the city’s most prestigious art school, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1925–29), where he was awarded two Cresson Travel Scholarships for European study, including intensive training with Parisian printmakers. Aside from those trips and subsequent European travel, Spruance spent the rest of his life in Philadelphia, where he was an influential teacher at Beaver College (now Arcadia University) and the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) and a prominent figure in the city’s art community. Spruance’s influence, however, was felt well beyond the Delaware Valley. His work was shown widely, through Weyhe, Downtown, and Macbeth galleries in New York, and throughout the United States in more than thirty solo exhibitions, in addition to innumerable group shows in the United States and abroad. Through Weyhe, he became a close friend of Carl Zigrosser, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s first print curator and a graphic arts specialist of international standing. Spruance was a lecturer, adviser, and board member for many organizations devoted to the creation, exhibition, and collecting of fine prints.