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Arts Desk

Painter Benjamin West: A Colonial-Age Art Superstar

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Benjamin West in a portrait by Gilbert Stuart, 1783-1784.

Born in 1738 in a village just outside Philadelphia, Benjamin West was one of the first Americans to achieve superstar status on the international art scene.  However, as WRTI’s Jim Cotter Reports, West’s success came not at home, but abroad.

Benjamin West paintings in the permanent collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. PAFA mortgaged their building in 1836 to purchase West's narrative painting, Death on the Pale Horse.