Wladyslaw Benda, Polish/American (1873 - 1948)

 

Wladyslaw Theodor Benda was an illustrator remembered today primarily for his beautiful theatrical masks. These creations occupied the latter part of his career and were used in theatre and dance performances around the world.

Benda himself had an international background. He was born in Poznan, Poland, and drew from his earliest years. After a false start in civil engineering at the Krakow College of Technology, he switched to the Academy of Art. Following further studies in Vienna, he came to the United States and began his career as an illustrator.

It was the era of the pretty girl, and his "Benda Girl" work joined the rest, but she stood out as intriguingly exotic among the American types. Her success kept Benda busy working for magazines for many years.

Benda became an American citizen but was always proud of his Polish heritage and contributed several poster designs for recruiting Polish patriots during World War I.

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