Ben Norris

Ben Norris (9/6/1910 - 9/12/2006)
Born: Redlands, California
Studied: Pomona College (California), Harvard University, Sorbonne (Paris)
Member: California Water Color Society, Philadelphia Water Color Club

In 1936 Ben Norris moved to Honolulu Hawaii and taught art at the Kamehameha school for boys before beginning a 30-year career as an art instructor at the University of Hawaii. He immediately began producing watercolors depicting regional Hawaiian scenes and within the year was given the first of many one-man shows at the Honolula Academy of Arts. These works were also widely exhibited in California and a number of them were reproduced in Paradise of the Pacific magazine.

During World War II Ben became friends with one of the Generals who allowed him to visit war time areas throughout Hawaii and paint watercolors. Several Ben Norris paintings including Around the Lister Bag appeared in the 1942 issue of Life magazine.

After the war, Norris became chairman of the art department at the University of Hawaii. This was a very demanding job and as a result Norris had less time to paint. In the mid 1950's when he returned to painting regularly, his paintings became increasingly more abstract. They were often painted with opaque watercolors and featured bold patterns and solid shapes. In 1976, he moved to the east coast and has continued to paint and exhibit his paintings.

Robert Benjamin (Ben) Norris died on September 12, 2006 , at the age of 96 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ben Norris Biography information: Gordon T. McClelland and Jay T. Last - Author, California Watercolors 1850-1970. Illustrated History and Biographical Dictionary; Claremont Fine Arts.

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