William Behnken, American (1943 - )

William Behnken

William Behnken born in 1943, has been a life-long resident of New York. He began his formal studies as an artist at the High School of Music and Art and earned his M.A. and B.A, degrees at the City College of New York where he has been teaching for over three decades. Mr. Behnken has also taught drawing and printmaking at the Provincetown Art Association and at the National Academy of Design School of Fine Arts, and is currently an Instructor in Printmaking at The Art Students League.

Mr. Behnken is a member and former president of the Society of American Graphic Artists and is an elected member of the National Academy of Design. His work has won awards from the National Academy as well as from Audubon Artists and numerous other juried exhibitions. Among the most recent are a Gold Medal of Honor from Audubon Artists, the Emile and Dines Carlsen Award , and the Ralph Fabri / Leo Meissner Prizes from the National Academy of Design. Mr. Behnken was honored by the City College Art Alumni Association by being given their Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2006 the Print Club of Albany commissioned Mr. Behnken to produce their Annual Collector’s Print.

Mr. Behnken’s working process was the subject of an article in American Artists Magazine in May 2007.

Mr. Behnken’s work has been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally and his work is in such collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Brooklyn Musem, the New York Historical Society, the Mississippi Museum, the Indianapolis Museum , the Zimmerli Art Museum, Bowdoin College Museum, the New Orleans Museum, and the New York Public Library Print Room, and in the Permanent Collections of the National Academy and the Art Students League, among others.

Artist’s Statement

In my work I try to create a harmonious and cohesive composition using elements distilled from my visual and emotional experiences in order to give these fleeting moments a permanence and memorable order. Over a lifetime of working I have found that for me, tonal values and light become the expressive equivalents of mystery and introspection as well as for the ideals of resolution and fulfillment. I have come to focus my skills on printmaking because it offered me an involvement in a medium that demanded disciplined control as well as a sensual and rich material experience.


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