Arthur Benjamins

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Arthur Benjamins
Born (1953-06-22) June 22, 1953 (age 63)
Nationality Dutch
Known for painting
An Ethereal Encounter by Arthur Benjamins

Arthur Benjamins (born June 22, 1953 in Rotterdam) is a Dutch artist who has progressed from figurative motorsport paintings to Abstract Iconography, taking on the revival of Neoplasticism.

Motorsport artist[edit]

No Surrender by Arthur Benjamins

Benjamins comes from a lineage of artists. the paintings of his great grand uncle Jacques Jacob Arend (1908-1943) can be found in the museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. His grandfather created a new style of advertising that formed the bedrock of modern illustrative adverts. Benjamins' early childhood was spent in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and from there he moved to Rotterdam in 1963 where, living on the busy Maas River, he began to develop his technical interest for the ships, dry docks and cranes. At a Ford showroom in Rotterdam in 1973, Arthur met the future Indianapolis 500 winner, Arie Luyendyk and reigning Formula One champion, Jackie Stewart who gave him encouragement and advice.

In 1974 Benjamins left for the UK. In the mid-1970s he became a BRSCC motorracing marshal, attending many races at his local track, Brands Hatch in Kent. This enabled him to observe first-hand many drivers like James Hunt, Nelson Piquet, and Nigel Mansell in the early part of their careers prior to becoming Grand Prix drivers and World champions.

In the early 1980s, Benjamins' evocation of key moments in motorsport much publicity through articles in motor racing magazines as Autosport,[1] Classic and Sportscar",[2] "Motorsport",[3] and Classic Boat[4] Benjamins' technique is different from other artists insofar in that he eschews the use of 'traditional' paints, preferring the far more trickier enamel paint.

Leap Into Legend, a book cover illustrated by Arthur Benjamins

From his first major exhibition at the rejuvenated 1983 Motor Sports Show at the Cunard Hotel in London, Benjamins' works were featured on 'News at Ten' on several occasions and in 1987 BBC motoring programme Top Gear featured him in a 6-minute slot.

About that time his interest in Land and Water Speed record breakers came to the fore. His first book jacket cover appeared on the cover of Power Boat Speed by Kevin Desmond which chronicled powerboating from 1896 onwards [5] One of his paintings appeared in the Italian version of Pilote Che Gente by Enzo Ferrari[6] and just before his death in 1988, Commendatore Ferrari presented Benjamins with a signed copy. In 1990, and with the full approval of Ken Norris, who designed the Bluebird car and boat in which Englishman, Donald Campbell broke many speed records, Benjamins set up Bluebird Publications to issue many of his record breaker prints.[7][8] Other book jackets followed. Leap into Legend by Steve Holter,[9] Race against the Odds again by Kevin Desmond.[10] and "The British Are Coming, British Record Breaking and the people that made it Happen" by Mike Varndell (.[11] Benjamins has also evoked historic aviation scenes.

In recognition of his service to powerboating via his Speed record breaker paintings, in 2007 he was awarded the Heritage Motorboat Trophy [12]


His first contact with the motorracing enthusiasts started in 1972 at a small Racing Car Show in the Netherlands, followed by shows in Zandvoort during their Grands Prix there. This is where he received encouragement from Formula One team bosses Ken Tyrrell, Teddy Mayer and driver Emerson Fittipaldi. A 1975 showing at the Whitechapel Art Gallery and a One-Man 1979 London exhibition allowed him to introduce both his motor racing and Science fantasy paintings and which culminated in exhibitions in Venice (Museum of Modern Art) and in Mdina, Malta. From 1983 he became a regular exhibitor at the British Racing Car Shows in London and Birmingham and at the Silverstone Coys festivals and Goodwood Festivals of Speed. In 1998 he had a one-man exhibition at the 'Napier Gallery' on Jersey. The show's patron was a Formula-1 sponsor and was officially opened by the Formula-1 team boss, Eddie Jordan. Since his US arrival, Arthur Benjamins has exhibited in Scottsdale, various Arizona Fine Art Expos.[13] Barrett-Jackson car auctions and various shows in Palm Springs, California. He currently teaches Neoplasticism for the 'Children’s Art Program' at the Peoria (AZ) library. He was invited to support the American Healing Arts Foundation for veterans by teaching Neoplasticism and with which he will continue.

Change of style[edit]

My Father. My King, by Arthur Benjamins

In 2000, he embarked on a period of transition, culminating in a change of painting style which leans towards abstract. Motoring magazine Classic & Sports Car featured a two-page article on his new style. Since his move to Phoenix, Arizona, United States, in 2014, Benjamins continues as a'full-on' abstract art. He has hosted exhibitions in the UK, North America, in Venice, Malta, Jersey, Holland and, recently, also in Helsinki [14] From "Abstract Iconography", he is now reviving the Neo-plasticist style pioneered by his fellow countryman Piet Mondrian (1872-1944).[15]

Design Achievements[edit]

His designs in the security world of 'closures', that are produced in their many millions, has set his name to eight patents. He has also worked for Formula-1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management as a designer before branching out as a free lance designer of bespoke accessories for motor cycles. He has also designed several fonts and typefaces.

Writing Achievements[edit]

He has also written his father's 181.000 word biography, To Die Fighting, which takes the reader through his father's early life, through Westerbork, Terezin, Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps and into his later years, covering life in Africa, enduring a sojourn through the war-torn Belgian Congo in search of millions of dollars worth of hidden diamonds. He also writes short stories which are part fiction and non-fiction


  1. ^ Motorsport artist Arthur Benjamins, "Autosport" 9 November 1989
  2. ^ "Arthur Benjamins" Classic and Sportscar, June 1994, p14
  3. ^ "Reflection" Motorsport January 1993
  4. ^ Kevin Desmond "Gallery: The Benjamins Angle" "Classic Boat" February, 1992.
  5. ^ Kevin Desmond Powerboat Speed (London, Conway Maritime Press Ltd 1988.
  6. ^ Enzo Ferrari, "Pilote Che Gente" (Bologna-Maranello; Italy, Conti Editore - Eredità Enzo Ferrari,1983)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  9. ^ Steve Holter, "Leap into Legend" (Wilmslow, Sigma Press 2002)
  10. ^ Kevin Desmond, "Race Against the Odds, The Tragic Success Story of Miss England II" (Wilmslow, Sigma Leisure, 2004)
  11. ^ Mike Varndell, "The British Are Coming, British Record Breaking and the people that made it Happen" (Transport Bookman Publications, 2012
  12. ^ Archives: The Motorboat Museum, Basildon, Essex UK.
  13. ^ 2013 and 2014 – Arizona Fine Art EXPO
  14. ^ 2012 - "Galleria Broms" in Helsinki, Finland. Solo exhibition, Finland.
  15. ^ White, Michael (20 September 2003). De Stijl and Dutch Modernism. Manchester University Press. p. 36

External links[edit]