Biographical Timeline

  • 1905 — Born in Białys­tok, Poland.
  • 1922 — Stud­ies with Pol­ish painter Mikołaj Wadyas.
  • 1924 — Orga­nizes a stu­dio work­shop for young artists and encour­ages the use of live mod­els.
  • 1926 — Shows an inter­est in the­atre scene paint­ing.
  • 1927 — First exhi­bi­tion, Wilno, Poland (now Vil­nius, Lithua­nia); exhi­bi­tion reviewed by Dr.  Dauer­mann;  Benn iden­ti­fied as a promis­ing young artist.
  • 1928 — Moves to War­saw; works in the stu­dio of Pol­ish painter Bouroff, and is accept­ed into the Union of Pro­fes­sion­al Artists of Poland.
  • 1929 — Receives a schol­ar­ship for a 3 year study peri­od in France.
  • 1930 — Exhi­bi­tion of his works, in Białys­tok, pri­or to depar­ture for France. Once in Paris he enrolls in the Académie Mod­erne and stud­ies under the French painter Fer­nand Léger.
  • 1930 — Admit­ted to the Asso­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sion­al Artists, Paris.
  • 1931 — First exhi­bi­tion in Paris, Galerie L’Époque.
  • 1932 — Meets Ghera, a bal­let dancer and artist, his future wife.
  • 1932–39 — His works are exhib­it­ed in pri­vate gal­leries across France and juried exhi­bi­tions at the Salon d’Automne and Les Inde­pen­dents (See Exhi­bi­tions).
  • 1940 — His work is reject­ed by the Salon d’Automne;  Jew­ish artists are no longer wel­come to exhib­it there!
  • 1941 — Joins the French under­ground; arrest­ed by the Nazis and interned at Beaune-la Rolande; saved by the inter­ven­tion of Prof. Mar­cel Brulé and art crit­ic Lo Duca, before he was to be sent to Auschwitz.
  • 1942–1944 — Goes into hid­ing; he and his wife Ghera live for 26 months in a win­dow­less cel­lar until the lib­er­a­tion in August 1944. Com­pletes 62 draw­ings of Psalms and oth­er vers­es of the Bible.
  • 1944 — After lib­er­a­tion, he con­tin­ues to exhib­it his work in pri­vate gal­leries and muse­ums  across Europe.
  • 1956 — Gold Medal­ist, Salon des Artistes Français.
  • 1957 — Receives Prix de L’Institut de France.
  • 1962 — Award­ed Grand Médaille de Ver­meil de la Ville de Paris.
  • 1962 — Film about Benn, pro­duced by Fox, Paris.
  • 1969 — Makes scenery and cos­tumes for the play Job, Nation­al The­atre, Ams­ter­dam, Hol­land.
  • 1971 — Receives Medal of the City of Petah-Tik­vah.
  • 1972 — Receives Médaille de Lev­al­lois-Per­ret, France.
  • 1972 — Receives Médaille de L’Île-de-France
  • 1972 — Receives Médaille de Ver­meil, city of Saint-Cloud
  • 1974 — Award­ed a prize by the Académie des Beaux Arts for his Album “Le can­tique des can­tiques” pre­sent­ed to the Bib­lio­thèque Nationale.
  • 1974 — Receives Légion d’Honneur, Paris.
  • 1975 — Receives Médaille du Jubilé, Musée de la Mon­naie, Paris (medal mint­ed by Direc­tion des Mon­naies et Médailles de France in hon­our of Benn’s 70th birth­day).
  • 1976 — Receives Médaille d’honneur, ville de Bor­deaux.
  • 1985 — Inau­gu­ra­tion of mur­al Love and Peace, UNESCO, Paris.
  • 1986 —  Inter­na­tion­al prize for a poster for peace and human rights for UNESCO.http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=32443&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
  • 1987 — Benn donates 190 bib­li­cal oils to the Musée d’art sacré du Gard, Pont-Saint-Esprit.
  • 1988 — Grand Prix d’Honneur et Médaille de l’Académie des Beaux-Arts, Lyon.
  • 1989 — Death of Benn.
  • 1994 — Benn’s wife Ghera pass­es away; upon her pass­ing, the Musée d’art sacré du Gard, Pont-Saint-Esprit, receives an addi­tion­al 226 lith­o­graphs, paint­ings, and medals, rep­re­sent­ing Benn’s cre­ative endeav­ours from 1927–1989.