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Ben Austrian

(1870 - 1921)

Ben Austrian was born in Reading, Pennsylvania and lived there his entire life. As a child, he was encouraged by his mother to draw and paint. He left school at the age of fifteen and worked as a salesman, while simultaneously focusing on his art. In an attempt to promote his business, he gave every customer a small original oil painting. His love of animals permeates his art, and the artist's subjects include hens and their chicks, cats, dogs, horses, game and the occasional fruit still life. His artistic career really took off when he exhibited a trompe l'oeil painting in Philadelphia. Austrian's trompe l'oeil game pieces, like From Old Virginia, are the crowning achievements of his career. He is also especially well known for his paintings of chickens and chicks. One of his chickens became the famous trademark for the Bon Ami slogan, 'hasn't scratched yet'.

In 1921, at the height of his success, Austrian died of a stroke.


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