A Curated Legacy
Bruce Benson sells his beloved Colorado Contemporary Realism collection
Over the past three decades, long-time art collector and former CU President, Bruce Benson has amassed a 25-piece collection of Colorado Contemporary Realism pieces that graced his downtown Denver office.
“These paintings and photographs are a part of who he has become, a legacy in Colorado cultural affairs and his desire to really highlight these Colorado and Rocky Mountain artists,” says Benson’s daughter Ann Benson Reidy, an independent art consultant. “They have become a part of him.”
Benson agrees that the sale is emotional for him, but it’s time to move on. “I’m 83 years old. It’s been wonderful, but I have to say goodbye,” he says.
His collection is a mix of color and black-and-white photography, cast bronze, prints, oil and acrylic paintings, graphite, and handblown, etched and cut glass, and features work by a variety of artists including Scott Fraser, Daniel Sprick and William C. Hook.
The pieces range in price from $600 to $50,000. The collector sites a Don Coen painting as his favorite. The painting, “Family Harvest,” is of a beat-up green pickup truck that reminds him of his early days working the oil fields.
“When I started Benson Mineral Group in 1965, I had one employee: Me. So I started drilling by myself. I had a green truck just like that that I lived in,” Benson remembers. “I was just a broke kid who started a company. This painting takes me right back to where I started.”