Reinhart, Benjamin Franklin – American Artist

image courtesy of Sloan's Auction Galleries.

p4A ItemID A067523
An oil on canvas portrait of John Slidell by Benjamin Franklin Reinhart

p4A ItemID C233291
Benjamin Franklin Reinhart oil painting, The Chase, children running over fence with dog & apples

p4A ItemID D9799566
Benjamin Franklin Reinhart, "Two Sisters and a Cat", 1873, oil on canvas, signed

p4A ItemID F7969707

Benjamin Franklin Reinhart, ANA

A painter of popular historical and genre subjects, Benjamin Franklin Reinhart was born in 1829 near Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. He began painting portraits at the age of 16 while taking artistic training in Pittsburgh. In 1847 Reinhart moved to New York City and enrolled at the National Academy where he studied for three years. An additional three years of artistic study abroad followed, with time spent in Dusseldorf, Paris and Rome.

In 1853 Reinhart returned to New York and opened a portrait studio. While based in New York he also made several trips through the mid-west and south seeking commissions and, in 1859, moved his studio to New Orleans. While in the Crescent City Reinhart worked in partnership with the artist Theodore Sidney Moise (1808 to 1885; active in New Orleans 1841 to 1884).

Reinhart gained great acclaim in New Orleans and painted portraits for some of the region’s most prominent citizens. In the fall of 1859 a reporter for the New Orleans Daily Crescent praised his talents “Those who are interested in the fine arts can spend an hour or two with much pleasure by paying a visit to this truly talented and accomplished young artist, whose rooms are located at the frame and picture gallery of Hoffman, on Canal Street…(Reinhart’s) striking, lifelike resemblances and exquisite blending of colors with the delicate lights and shadows, proportions and effects, prove that, with a natural genius for art, he has also been an assiduous student, and his portraits may well be termed “speaking” pictures.” (28 November 1859).

In 1862 Reinhart left the South for England. Before his departure his devotion of time and talents to the Confederacy earned him further esteem in the city and the tribute of having a military company named in his honor in 1862. For the next six years Reinhart enjoyed great success in London as a painter of portraits and genre scenes. In 1868 he returned to New York City where he was elected to the American National Academy in 1871 and worked the remainder of his life, developing a special reputation for anecdotal scenes with little girls, a number of which were reproduced as chromolithographs. Reinhart died in Philadelphia in 1885.

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