Born in Warsaw in 1900, Ben Solowey moved with his family to Russia in 1907, before emigrating to Philadelphia in 1914. In 1919 he was awarded a four year scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts by Edward Redfield. After a trip to Europe, Solowey returned to Philadelphia for a short period before moving to Manhattan in 1928.

Solowey, a master of classic representational artwork, routinely exhibited his paintings alongside those
of Matisse, Picasso, de Kooning, and other legends in national and international exhibitions. He was a favorite of both collectors and fellow artists. From 1929 to 1942 Solowey defined an era in his striking charcoal portraits of the luminaries of the performing arts. Solowey's "Theatre Portraits" include: Katharine Hepburn, Al Jolson, Walter Huston, Barbara Stanwyck, Laurence Olivier, Richard Rodgers, Lillian Gish, Katharine Cornell, Tallulah Bankhead and over 800 others. Commissioned by The New York Times, Post, Herald-Tribune, Solowey captured performers for posterity during a rehearsal break or after a show. He drew from life rather than rely on the photographs that many of his contemporaries simply re-drew. He was a pioneer in the use of halftone in newspaper reproduction, and spawned a generation that emulated his style.

At the height of his substantial acclaim for both his paintings and his theatre work, Solowey left the comforts of Fifth Avenue for the countryside of Bucks County. Here he would create some of his greatest work, even though the first seven years would be without electricity and running water on the property. He restored the pre-colonial farmhouse on the 34 acre farm, furnishing it with his own recreations of classic furniture he admired in museums. He transformed the barn into a spacious studio, which stands today filled with his artwork, a testament of his phenomenal talent. A true Renaissance Man, he produced award-winning, highly regarded canvases and sculptures while handling everything from cabinetmaking to plumbing, from masonry to gardening .

Solowey's work is perhaps more popular now than ever before. His mastery of many styles, genres, and mediums has drawn comparisons to John Singer Sargent, William Merrit Chase, Hirschfeld, Daniel Garber, and Arthur B. Carles, but his work is uniquely his own. Besides being the subject of exhibitions and articles, his work has also seen escalating prices in the marketplace. After Solowey's death, his wife Rae insisted that his studio remain intact for the public to enjoy. The Studio's mission is to preserve one of the jewels in the crown of Buck's County's artistic legacy: the work and workplace of Ben Solowey. For more information on exhibitions and special events, or directions to The Studio of Ben Solowey, please call (215) 795-0228.

Sign up for the Solowey Letter
Just enter your email address

© 2000 The Ben Solowey Collection. All Rights Reserved.