December 21, 1858|
Lake Forest, Illinois
|Died||April 6, 1942
|Education||School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Art Students League of New York, Academie Julien|
Enella Benedict (December 21, 1858 – April 6, 1942) was an American realism and landscape painter. She taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was a founder and director for nearly 50 years for the Art School at the Hull House.
Early life and education
Enella Benedict was born in Lake Forest, Illinois, the daughter of cloth merchant Amzi and Catherine Walmath Benedict. Amzi Benedict was with the Field, Benedict & Company firm and was a city council member and mayor of Lake Forest. Her younger siblings included Caroline, Albert, Sydney and Kate. 
Benedict attended Lake Forest University, where she studied painting and drawing and was a junior in 1876.
She studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League of New York. She then traveled to Paris, France to study at the Academie Julien. Despite being at a prestigious academy, as a female student, she received less rigorous training and was charged more for tuition compared to male students. As a woman, she was often isolated from other students.
Benedict made oil and watercolor portrait, figure, landscapes and urban scene paintings. Benedict's drawing and painting style was influenced by Realism and Impressionism in which she painted and drew individuals she encountered around her, such as residents of Hull House and local peasants, along with seascapes and rural landscapes.
In the 19th century a women's movement began to promote education, autonomy, and break into traditionally male dominated occupations. Organizations led by women, bonded by sisterhood, were formed for social reform, including settlement houses in working class and poor neighborhoods, like Hull House. To develop "new roles for women, the first generation of New Women wove the traditional ways of their mothers into the heart of their brave new world. The social activists, often single, were led by educated, often single New Women.
Benedict lived at Hull House, as did Jane Addams, and supported the Art School program for almost 50 years, teaching clay modeling, drawing, painting and lithography. She managed the artist-in-residence program and other teachers. The art program, led by social reformer Benedict, was intended to offer education and cultural opportunities to disadvantaged neighborhood residents, having promoting some labor professions as art forms, such as textile fields. Benedict created opportunities for artists to exhibit their works, including the Art Institute of Chicago. Reported in Pots of Promise: Mexicans and Pottery at Hull-House, 1920-40: "In proportion to enrollment, there probably have been more exhibiting artists who started in its classes than in most other schools in the country."
Enella Benedict was committed to the principle that art should not be a luxury for the wealthy, that it could be used as an instrument for social change. Benedict believed that art could improved the lives of Nineteenth Ward residents burdened by long work days and difficult conditions by providing beauty and offering opportunities for creative expression. For as little as 15 cents a day, anyone could take art class at Hull-House, and many students went on to study at the School of the Art Institute.
— Enella Benedict biography, University of Illinois, Chicago
While at Hull House, she also taught at the Art Institute of Chicago, Benedict published a column entitled Ms. Benedict Knows about stories about Hull House. where she worked in the mornings which provided income so that she could work afternoons at Hull House without taking payment. She often traveled to Europe during the summers.
In 1893 her work was exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition. Her work was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago given by the Art Students League of Chicago and other exhibitions. An art gallery at Hull House was dedicated in her name to promote the work of its artists In 1938 an retrospective was held of her work was held at Benedict Gallery.
She was a member of the Palette Club in Chicago. Her works are in the collections at Hull House, Rockford Art Museum in Illinois, National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Smithsonian Institution.
Benedict died on April 6, 1942 in Richmond Virginia.
- A Foot Path, watercolor, exhibited in 1895 of the Art Students League at the Art Institute of Chicago.
- Brittany Children, exhibited in 1893 Columbian World's Exposition, National Museum of Women in the Arts
- Counting the Ships, exhibited in 1893 Columbian World's Exposition
- Daily Bread, exhibited in 1893 Columbian World's Exposition
- Evening in the Village, exhibited 1901 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
- Greek Easter Procession on Halstead Street (Chicago, Illinois), pastel, 1907, Annual American Exhibition, Art Institute of Chicago
- Old Stories, exhibited in 1893 Columbian World's Exposition
- Salt Marsh and Cedars, watercolor, exhibited in 1895 of the Art Students League at the Art Institute of Chicago.
- The many, pastel, 1907, Annual American Exhibition, Art Institute of Chicago
- Young Boy at Work
- William Tomlinson Plant
- Persons Honored in the Painted Portraits on Display in the Health Sciences Library. Upstate Medical University. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- "Enella Benedict". Illinois Women Artists. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- Census for Shields, Lake, Illinois. Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
- Brookhaven Press. The Past and Present of Lake County, Illinois: Containing a History of the County--its Cities, Towns, &c., a Biographical Directory of Its Citizens, War Record of Its Volunteers in the Late Rebellion, Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, General and Local Statistics, Map of Lake County, History of Illinois, Illustrated, History of the Northwest, Illustrated, Constitution of the United States, Miscellaneous Matters, Etc., Etc. Brookhaven Press; 1877. ISBN 978-1-58103-880-4. p. 424.
- 1876 Year Book, Lake Forest Lake University. Educational Institutions. American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. pp. 14, 16. Note: Her father, Amzi Benedict was her patron and she was from Lake Forest, Illinois.
- Ganz, Cheryl R. (2001). Women Building Chicago 1790-1990. Indiana University Press. p. 75.
- Carroll Smith-Rosenberg. Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America. Oxford University Press; 1986. ISBN 978-0-19-504039-5. p. 255.
- Peggy Glowacki; Julia Hendry. Hull-House. Arcadia Publishing; 2004. ISBN 978-0-7385-3351-3. p. 23.
- Cheryl Ganz; Margaret Strobel. Pots of Promise: Mexicans and Pottery at Hull-House, 1920-40. University of Illinois Press; 2004. ISBN 978-0-252-02894-6. pp. 13, 16, 22, 57.
- Enella Benedict . University of Illinois, Chicago. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- Cheryl J. Fish; Yi-Chun Tricia Lin. Women's Studies Then and Now. Feminist Press at CUNY; 2002. ISBN 978-1-55861-405-5. pp. 53, 54.
- Art Student League of New York Exhibition in 1895 at the Art Institute of Chicago. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Institute; 1907. p. 45.
- American Art Annual. American Art Annual Incorporated; 1908. p. 270.
- Cheryl Ganz; Margaret Strobel. Pots of Promise: Mexicans and Pottery at Hull-House, 1920-40. University of Illinois Press; 2004. ISBN 978-0-252-02894-6. p. 22.
- Enella Benedict (1858-1942). American Gallery. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- Enella Benedict. U. S. Women Painters: 1893 Chicago World's Fair and Exposition. arcadiasystems.org. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- Enella Benedict. National Museum of Women in the Arts. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition. 1901. p. 53.
- Art Institute of Chicago. Annual American Exhibition [of] Water Colors and Drawings. 1907. p. 71.
- Art Institute of Chicago. Annual American Exhibition [of] Water Colors and Drawings. 1907. p. 142.