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Ben Norris At Childs Gallery

Ben Norris

American (1910-2006)

Robert Benjamin Norris was born in 1910 in southern California, where he completed his undergraduate education, executed his first professional paintings, and first exhibited to critical acclaim. Although he continued to paint for 20 years after retiring to New York City and Philadelphia, he may be best known in Hawaii, where he spent the highly prolific middle part of his professional career.

Norris has long been identified with the Southern California Watercolor School, which includes his colleagues, Phil Dike, Thomas Craig, Millard Sheets, Milford Zornes and Hardie Gramatky. Although he moved to Hawaii in 1936, he often returned to paint in southern California through the late 1940s and his style remained essentially that of the Southern California Watercolor School through that time.

Norris studied at Pomona College, Harvard, and the Sorbonne, but supplemented his schooling by working directly with Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Jean Charlot, Josef Albers and Max Ernst. When the University of Hawaii resumed classes after World War II, Norris became Chairman of the Art Department and seized the opportunity to invite distinguished artists as visiting professors or artists-in-residence. Ernst exerted an especially potent influence, about which Norris later wrote: “I had invited him to the University. He was both charming and accessible to us, giving me a chance to hear and to understand some authentic ‘info’ about Surrealism. I eventually merged some of the conventional Surrealist forms of automatic painting with Far Eastern paper handling techniques.” Ben Norris’ abstract interpretations of the Hawaiian landscape Wind from the Sea I and The Pali, exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1950, were painted during this decade of artistic exploration.

As a teacher, academic, and artist, Norris had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and continued to master new stylistic methods throughout his career. While well known for his bold watercolors, Norris also became an accomplished printmaker, and experienced much success with his oil and acrylic paintings, as well as his collages. His varied work always seems to imbue a mystical or spiritual aspect, which Norris spoke of in a 1965 interview for Art in America:

“The act of painting is a combination of apprehension of the environment in which we live with the affirmation and the consolidation of the self within this setting. My home-grown Zen is hybridized from Max Ernst’s surrealism, a number of contacts with psychiatry (the healing priesthood of our time), and the Religious Society of Friends, called Quakers.”

Norris exhibited steadily from 1933 through 2001 in solo and group exhibitions, and garnered many awards including a Fulbright Professorship and a Yaddo Fellowship. He is represented in many permanent collections including the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Hawaii State Art Museum, The Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, D.C), the McNay Art Museum (San Antonio, Texas), the Oregon State University Memorial Union (Corvallis, Oregon), and the National Museum of American Art. His work has been exhibited nationally at museums across the country including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New York Public Library, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the deYoung Museum in San Francisco, and the Los Angeles Museum. Childs Gallery is proud to have represented this prolific and talented artist since 1998.

Drawing By Ben Norris: Firenze, Ponte Vecchio At Childs GalleryQuick View
8×10IN.
$1,500
Firenze, Ponte Vecchio
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Coronation At Childs GalleryQuick View
52×3114IN.
$9,000
Coronation
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Boys On Rocks #2 [hawaii] At Childs GalleryQuick View
14×18IN.
$3,750
Boys on Rocks #2 [Hawaii]
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Landscape Study Iii (for Oil Painting) At Childs GalleryQuick View
14×18IN.
$4,200
Landscape Study III (for oil painting)
Watercolor By Manoa Rainforest Xxxii: Hala And Wave 2: Manoa Rainforest Xxxii: Hala And Wave 2 At Childs GalleryQuick View
2912×4112IN.
$12,000
Manoa Rainforest XXXII: Hala and Wave 2
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Manoa Rainforest Xxix: Three Trees, Two Vines At Childs GalleryQuick View
29×41IN.
$12,000
Manoa Rainforest XXIX: Three Trees, Two Vines
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Haleiwa Beach At Childs GalleryQuick View
2014×2718IN.
$6,000
Haleiwa Beach
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Boys On Rocks #3 At Childs GalleryQuick View
14×18IN.
$3,750
Boys on Rocks #3
Painting by Ben Norris: Wind from the Sea I [Hawaii], represented by Childs GalleryQuick View
20×30IN.
Wind from the Sea I [Hawaii]
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Landscape Study Ii (for Oil Painting) At Childs GalleryQuick View
14×17IN.
$4,200
Landscape Study II (for oil painting)
Watercolor By Ben Norris: View Punchbowl From Tantalus Ii At Childs GalleryQuick View
14×18IN.
$4,200
View-Punchbowl from Tantalus II
Painting By Ben Norris: Burning Bush At Childs GalleryQuick View
16×12IN.
$1,500
Burning Bush
Painting By Ben Norris: Presumed Landscape I At Childs GalleryQuick View
7×9IN.
$1,000
Presumed Landscape I
Collage By Ben Norris: Waiting Series No. 4: Low Tide At Childs GalleryQuick View
15×12IN.
$1,400
Waiting Series No. 4: Low Tide
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Windward Landscape At Childs GalleryQuick View
14×18IN.
$4,200
Windward Landscape
Painting By Ben Norris: Sea Cave Vii At Childs GalleryQuick View
28×18IN.
$9,500
Sea Cave VII
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Brooklyn Botanical Garden No. 10: Summer Water Lilies At Childs GalleryQuick View
53×31IN.
$14,000
Brooklyn Botanical Garden No. 10: Summer Water Lilies
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Brooklyn Botanical Garden No. 12: Shaded Walk Ii At Childs GalleryQuick View
53×31IN.
$14,000
Brooklyn Botanical Garden No. 12: Shaded Walk II
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Brooklyn Botanical Garden No. 2: Greenhouse Ii At Childs GalleryQuick View
31×53IN.
$14,000
Brooklyn Botanical Garden No. 2: Greenhouse II
Painting By Ben Norris: Tree Ii At Childs GalleryQuick View
53×31IN.
Tree II
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Brooklyn Botanical Garden No. 1: Greenhouse Interior At Childs GalleryQuick View
53×31IN.
$14,000
Brooklyn Botanical Garden No. 1: Greenhouse Interior
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Manoa Rainforest Xx: Sunlight At Childs GalleryQuick View
29×41IN.
$12,000
Manoa Rainforest XX: Sunlight
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Dive (chinese Landscape Viii) At Childs GalleryQuick View
55×15IN.
$8,000
Dive (Chinese Landscape VIII)
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Manoa Rainforest Xxvii: Smother Me Softly At Childs GalleryQuick View
29×41IN.
$12,000
Manoa Rainforest XXVII: Smother Me Softly
Watercolor By Ben Norris: Hawaiian Landscape Composition Ii At Childs GalleryQuick View
22×30IN.
$7,500
Hawaiian Landscape Composition II
Painting By Ben Norris: Tropic Beach At Childs GalleryQuick View
28×30IN.
$12,500
Tropic Beach
Painting By Ben Norris: Landscape Variations No. 2 Sardonic Interlude At Childs GalleryQuick View
30×40IN.
$20,000
Landscape Variations No. 2 - Sardonic Interlude
Painting By Ben Norris: Landscape Variations No. 1 Conflict At Childs GalleryQuick View
36×44IN.
$24,000
Landscape Variations No. 1 - Conflict
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