LEE CORBINO GALLERIES
AMERICAN = EUROPEAN = LATIN AMERICAN
PAINTINGS = DRAWINGS = PRINTS
BEN STAHL (1885-1965)
Crackle, glossy white glazed ceramic
9 x 16 ½ x 5 inches
Signed: (incised) a Ben Stahl ORIGINAL (lower left on base)
Condition: 3 areas of glaze loss (see photos) maybe firing inconsistencies
Collection of Jon Corbino
Estate of Jon Corbino
Ben Stahl introduced his good friend Jon Corbino to ceramics in the early 1960s. They would go together to experiment with the medium at Doris Bull’s Celeste Ceramic studio in Sarasota, Florida.
Although, the horse’s head is untitled, it appears to be influenced by Selene’s Chariot horses now residing at the British Museum originally from the east pediment of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece dated 447-432 BC.
When Ben Stahl established a luxurious studio on Siesta Key, Florida in 1952, he was one of the most famous illustrators in America. Even Norman Rockwell, an illustrator also lionized by the Saturday Evening Post, paid tribute to Stahl in a letter to him in 1968 “The rest of us are just illustrators, but you are among the masters and I am filled with admiration.”
For thirty years, Stahl’s work was featured in national magazines. He illustrated 750 covers and story illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post averaging three paintings a month and sometimes illustrating two stories in one issue. One of the illustrated serials for which he is best known is “Commodore Hornblower” by C.S. Forester (author of the novel the African Queen which was adapted into the 1951 movie with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn).
Stahl was born in Chicago in 1910; he left elementary school to go to work running errands for a commercial art studio. The studio was his art school training. “I had five or six instructors instead of just one and I was the only student,” he said. Yet at the age of sixteen one of his paintings was exhibited in the International Watercolor Show at the Art Institute of Chicago where he later taught painting and lectured. He also taught at the American Academy of Art, The Art Student's League, Pratt Institute and numerous universities across the country.
He began his career working for the Chicago Daily News as an illustrator and eventually contracted illustration assignments for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Today’s Women, Woman’s Home Companion, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, American Weekly, The Chicago Tribune Magazine, Art Digest, American Artist, Country Gentleman and Coronet.
In addition, he did the illustrations for national advertising campaigns for clients such as John Hancock, Bell Aircobra, International Silver, Coca Cola, Packard Motor Company and others; acquiring more than 25 national art director awards.
Stahl was co-founder of the largest school in the world in 1949; the Famous Artist Schools of Westport, CT and later the Famous Schools International, which was listed on the New York stock exchange (FS) and had offices and faculty in Amsterdam, Chicago, London, Munich, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Washington DC and Westport, CT where Stahl was presently living. Stahl was the author of the textbook for the painting course.
In 1951, Stahl was commissioned to paint "The 14 Stations of the Cross" for a special edition of the Bible published in 1952 by the Catholic Press of Chicago. Stahl spent over three months in Jerusalem making preliminary sketches, walking the streets where Jesus carried the cross, absorbing the atmosphere and steeping himself in the lore of the era at the time of Christ.
Stahl and his wife Ella had been visiting Sarasota, Florida, in the winter since 1939 where Ella’s father was a real estate agent. Stahl found he could work as easily in Florida as in Westport, CT and in 1952 they contracted Sarasota School of Architecture, architect Victory Lundy to build a house and art studio on Siesta Key overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. They entertained lavishly the members of Sarasota’s arts community.
His neighbor on Siesta Key, Mackinlay Kantor, who after returning from a trip to the Costa del Sol suggested to Stahl that he and Ella might like living there. The Stahls and their two small children moved to Torremolinos, Spain in 1956. At the time, Stahl was working on the Coca Cola account for a New York ad agency and continually flew back and forth from Spain to New York. Considered part of the international jet set milieu in Torremolinos, they attended parties with Ernest Hemingway, Timothy Leary and Jacque Cousteau. They returned in 1958.
Almost immediately upon returning to Sarasota, the US Air Force commissioned Stahl to sketch activities at the US Air Force Bases in the Far East and gave him the temporary rank of Brigadier General. Along with Eric Von Schmidt (son of Harold Von Schmidt) they toured Japan, Thailand, Formosa, Bangkok and the Philippines. The paintings from that tour depict the everyday life of the Air Force in Asia, and now hang in the Pentagon and at the Air Force Academy in Annapolis, MD.
While in Hong Kong, he discovered a little Chinese girl who played the piano by ear—prodigy Ginny Tiu. Stahl arranged for her to come to America—she was a sensation and consequently appeared on Ed Sullivan Show and almost every other television and radio show in the United States. “She was like a little doll. Ginny had to stand up to play, as the keys were level with her nose. And she was playing a Beethoven sonata. Five years old.” Stahl said later.
MUSEUMS and PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, IL
Carnegie Art Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
The Pentagon, Washington, DC
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, NY
Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Wickenburg, AZ
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
Pearce Collections Museum, Corsicana, TX
Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA
Florida State Capitol, Tallahassee, FL
US Air Force Academy, Annapolis, MD
Duke University Art Museum, Durham, NC
Atlanta Library, Atlanta, GA
Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Universal Studios, Los Angeles, CA
MGM Studio, Los Angeles, CA
Fine Arts Association of Sarasota, Sarasota, FL
International Collection Library at Garden City, NY
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
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