Hen with Chicks, 1912

by Ben Austrian (1870–1921)

Oil on canvas
20 x 26 1/16 inches
Signed and dated lower right: Ben Austrian / 1912

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Information

Provenance
Schwarz Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Faultless Starch/Bon Ami Company Collection, Kansas City, Missouri, acquired from above, 1984
Sale, Freeman’s, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 9, 2019, lot 25, from above

 

Literature

Philadelphia Paintings 1795–1930: Philadelphia Collection XXII (Philadelphia: Schwarz Gallery, Philadelphia, 1984), plate 11.

 

Note: Beginning in 1902, Austrian worked with the producers of Bon Ami household cleaner to create a series of advertisements that featured paintings of his chickens. By depicting the softness of the chicks, these images suggested Bon Ami’s non-scratching products, which revolutionized the soap industry.

Artist Biography

Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin Austrian was self-taught and began his career in Paris. He later opened a studio in London before returning home to Berks County, Pennsylvania. He was lauded for his paintings of barnyard animals, specifically mother hens with their chicks. Beginning in 1902, the makers of Bon Ami household cleaner used an image of one of Austrian’s chicks on their packaging with the slogan “Hasn’t Scratched Yet”®, a marketing device that is still in use today. In 2016, the Reading Public Museum celebrated his paintings with a solo exhibition titled Ben Austrian: An American Original. At

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Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin Austrian was self-taught and began his career in Paris. He later opened a studio in London before returning home to Berks County, Pennsylvania. He was lauded for his paintings of barnyard animals, specifically mother hens with their chicks. Beginning in 1902, the makers of Bon Ami household cleaner used an image of one of Austrian’s chicks on their packaging with the slogan “Hasn’t Scratched Yet”®, a marketing device that is still in use today. In 2016, the Reading Public Museum celebrated his paintings with a solo exhibition titled Ben Austrian: An American Original. At auction, his work has sold for as much as $82,950.

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