St Louis Park, Minnesota
Gallen Benson studied fine art sculpture at the University of Minnesota and continued with graduate study of sculpture at the University of New Mexico. But his formal studies took a twist as he turned his knowledge of sculpture to what became a passion of jewelry production. Essentially, Gallen is a self-taught jewelry artist and has been creating original jewelry for more than 30 years. He works closely with celebrities, designers, prestige retailers, precious jewelry manufacturers, galleries & museums, focusing on private clients and collectors.
Tom Saddington in an art review noted, “a new find for me and just my type of thing as his work is full of humor, is Gallen Benson. I am drawn to Gallen’s work as it is inspired by ancient jewelry but infused with a design sense which is distinctly modern. Peruse his website and you will see modern examples of pietre dure (only executed in enamel), and renaissance themed necklaces etc.”
Much of Benson’s jewelry is colorful and elaborate, made with extremely intricate cloisonné, carving and enameling techniques. He mixes antique styles with modern and his creative motivation is spiritual as well as from observing plants and animals. His cloisonné technique is some of the most beautiful and detailed you will ever find.
Several years ago, the former king of the United Arab Emirates visited the Mayo hospital in Minnesota and while he was there he requested a private art showing. Gallen was asked to participate, and among the pieces he provided was a piece he calls simply, the horse bracelet. Made of gold, platinum and diamonds and carved with the images of Arabian horses, manes flowing in the wind, the king and his wife immediately fell in love with it and bought it. Only three of the bracelets were made. Gallen gave one to his daughter, one is owned by the former king’s family and the last one is available through Plum Majestic.
- 1973 Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Minnesota, Sculpture
- 1973/74 Graduate study in sculpture, University of New Mexico
- 1974 Began making jewelry, self-taught
- 1976 Project Grant, Minnesota State Arts Board
- 1977 Project Grant, Minnesota State Arts Board
- 1977 ” A Change in Scale”, Minnesota Artist’s Exhibition Program Show, Minneapolis Institute of Art
- 1985 New Designer Room, Jewelers of America Shows, New York City
- 1988 Invitational: Vincenza Oro 1 , Vicenza, Italy
- 1989 United States Design Award, presented by the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America. In conjunction with exhibiting at MACEF Oro Argento, Milan, Italy
- 2002 “Sacred Hand”, by Gallen Benson, permanent collection, Museum of Arts and Design, New York City
- 2002 Best in Show, Washington Craftshow, Washington, D.C.
- 2002 Raspberry Suite, Green Sea Turtle Necklace, Permanent collection, Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington , D.C.
- 2005 Solo Exhibition, ” Precious in Nature, Jewelry by Gallen Benson”, Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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