“To preserve the initial impulse, I like to finish as quickly as possible. As I work, I like to build the painting to a crescendo of activity while retaining areas of rest, of inactivity.” - Claude Bentley
Claude Bentley was a painter, lithographer, muralist, and teacher born in New York City in 1915. He primarily lived and worked in Chicago. After studying at Northwestern University and the Art Institute of Chicago, he returned as a professor to teach at the Art Institute, as well as the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, and the North Shore Art League in Winnetka. In addition, he gave numerous lectures and demonstrations.
From 1941 to 1945, Bentley served in North Africa with the armed forces and in France. His time there sparked an interest in primitive African, Oceanic, and pre-Columbian art, of which he became an avid collector. These fascinations informed his geometric style, and gave a tribal feel to his Abstract Expressionist art.
As a muralist, he completed commissions for the Plaza del lago Shopping Center in Wilmette and 3600 Lake Shore Drive Building in Chicago. In 1949, he became a member of the Chicago Society of Artists.
Honorable Mention, Print Club, Philadelphia, 1948
Honorable Mention, Art Institute of Chicago, 1949
Second Prize, Mural Competition, Taxco, Mexico, 1949
Purchase Award, University of Illinois, 1949
Honorable Mention, Painting, Art institute of Chicago, 1950
Honorable Mention, Painting, Terry Institute, 1952
Watercolor Award, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1952
Purchase Award, Denver Art Museum, 1954
Pauline Palmer Award, Art institute of Chicago, 1955
Magnificent Mile Award, Painting, Chicago, 1955
Milwaukee Journal Award, Painting, 1957
First Prize, Brotherhood Week Art Exhibit, Chicago, 1959
Purchase Award, Sarasota Art Association National Exhibit, 1959
First Purchase Award, Village Art Fair, Oak Park, Illinois, 1959
John G. Curtis, Jr. Award, Art Institute of Chicago