Eduardo Garcia Benito

(1891 - 1981

eduardo-benitoFamous fashion illustrator Benito was born Eduardo Garcia Benito in Valladolid, Spain in 1891.  His artistic talent was discovered from an early age and he studied under the tutelage of painter Mignon, in 1910.  Two years later, he was awarded a scholarship to study at the L'Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris, France.

In Paris Benito established himself as a portrait painter, decorative artist and illustrator. His first individual presentation took place at the Galerie Sauvage in 1919.  He caught the eye of the famous fashion designer Paul Poiret, who introduced him to Conde Nast.

Benito’s first illustrations were published in the French magazines Fantasia and Femina.  After World War I, Benito was part of a group of artists that worked for the prestigious Parisian fashion magazine the Gazette du Bon Ton, which was owned by Lucien Vogel.  Vogel was an editor with talent and very well connected that was fundamental in the early history of Conde Nast Publications.  Finally, it was Benito’s association with the Gazette du Bon Ton that brought him to work for Conde Nast.

Benito lived in Paris and New York and was a major contributor to fashion books and magazines including "Gazette du Bon Ton," "L'Homme Elegant" and "Le Gout du Jour" and the deluxe catalogue "La Derniere Lettre Persane," 1920, illustrating twelve new creations for Fourrures Max.

Benito belonged to Vogue’s exclusive group of illustrators known as the “Beaux Brummels of the Brush,” which included Charles Martin, Georges Barbier, Bernard Boutet de Monvel, Pierre Brissaud, Georges Lepape, and André Marty.  He was appointed head illustrator for Vogue and Vanity Fair in 1920.  Benito worked for the magazines for two decades.

Art movements of the day such as Cubism and Constructivism inspired Benito’s iconic and highly stylized geometric forms.  In 1926, Benito developed his personal trademark style; what Conde Nast named the “big head.”  His drawings presented bodies with “big heads” and long necks, resembling African sculptures, over a simple background with one or two colors.  Benito was possibly influenced by Brancusi or Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, a personal friend of Benito’s in Paris.  His magazine covers became clear examples of the Art Deco style.  Benito's very stylized women go beyond that movement to exemplify the streamlined refinement of Modernism. It is this understated elegance which came to typify the Art Deco sensibility and earned Benito his reputation as an innovator of design.

Benito is probably best known for his twenty-year career as the leading cover artist for International Vogue. After World War II, when photographers replaced graphic artists for magazine work, Benito continued his professional life as a successful portrait painter and muralist and returned to his place of birth; Valladolid, Spain.

Benito died in Valladolid, Spain on December 1, 1981 at the age of ninety.