The unveiling of the Lester Bentley portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower at the Lester Public Library, March 29, 2011, on what would have been Bentley's 103 birthday.
This commissioned portrait of Eisenhower painted by Two Rivers' native Lester Bentley in 1954 for Columbia University, New York. Bentley was only 44 years old when he was selected for the honor.
Lester Bentley's widow, Connie, offered the personal Eisenhower portrait (Bentley painted two, the original hangs on the Columbia University Campus, New York) for sale to the Two Rivers Historical Society. Many generous donations were made to secure it. Sadly, it will be the last purchase of one of Lester's paintings from Constance Bentley, as she died on December 23, 2010.
In attendance were two of Bentley's three sons, Claude and George.
Last Saturday night, March 29th, Two Rivers celebrated what would have been local artist Lester Bentley's 100th birthday. Music, wine, cake and a sing-a-long in the gallery made for a beautiful evening at the Hamilton Community House in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
The MacDowell Chorus provided music.
The 'Girl in the Red Coat' was unveiled.
In remembrance of portrait artist and local legend Lester Bentley.
Beginning in March 2007, the Lester Public Library and the Lester Bentley Committee of the Two Rivers Historical Society embarked on a one year collaborative project. In June 2006 the Two Rivers Historical Society purchased the Frick Collection of paintings, prints, photographs, and memorabilia of local artist Lester W. Bentley (1908-1972). Looking for a venue to display the collection, members of the Bentley Committee approached the Lester Public Library. The Library agreed to display one new work each month for a year. You might have seen them hanging above the fireplace if you visited the library this year.
The project culminates by celebrating what would have been Bentley's 100th birthday at the Two Rivers Hamilton Community House, Saturday March 29th, 7:30 pm. The Appleton MacDowell Male Chorus will perform; during intermission Ray Kessenich will introduce the crowd to Lester Bentley and a display of his art. After the performance join the MacDowell Chorus in a sing along of Bentley’s favorite tunes. Tickets are $10.00 and available at the Hamilton Community House and the Washington House, 1622 Jefferson Street, Two Rivers.
October First Brings a New Bentley Painting to LPL
This early Bentley painting (on loan from the Two Rivers Historical Society) was thought to be a portrait of William Smalley. Upon closer review and subsequent research, members of the Lester Bentley Committee are convinced it is not Smalley, but a portrait of J.E. Hamilton.