Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, died in Los Angeles California, USA. Studied art at the Higher Art School in Saint Petersburg. She was a refugee from the Russian civil war and immigrated to Skopje in 1920. She immediately started to Macedonian paint folklore dresses with exceptional quality. The word about her magnificent folklore drawings spread in the Kingdome of Yugoslavia, and the King Alexander himself commissioned her to create an album of Yugoslav folk dresses. The anthropological expedition that worked on this album travelled in the most rural places in Macedonia documenting the pieces of the folk clothes and the Macedonian folk architecture that was at the brink of extinction. In 1939 she moved with her family to Belgrade and she started to work at the Ethnographical museum. She moved to Belgrade due to here financially difficult life in Skopje with her husband Leonid Benson and her 17-year-old son Aleksandar.

Her financial situation did not improve in Belgrade either. She quit the museum and started to work at the Institute of Ethnography of the Serbian Academy of Sciences as a folklore painter in the period 1947 – 1950 when she immigrated to the United States where her son lived in Lost Angeles.

The Institute’s collection encompasses over 500 drawings and watercolors of hers (house, furniture, folk costumes and their parts, sketches of folk costumes, vignettes for the Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnography, etc.) which have not been published yet. In the library of the Museum of Macedonia there is a copy of her ethnographical album published in 1963. There have been two recent exhibitions with her works: “Drawings from ethnological documentation of Macedonia” (1997) and “Miraculous women from the collection of the National gallery of Macedonia” (2018). She was also a friend of Blanche Payne, costume design professor at the University of Washington, where they keep 25 of her drawings in their digital collection. Olga Benson also worked in Skopje in fresco copying (two are in the collection of the war museum in Belgrade) and she also painted the interior of the church St Archangel Michael in Skopje. She was also a humanist and founder of several humanitarian organizations.

The decoration on Macedonian 2000 denars bill is from Olga Benson.

Olga Benson (1887-1977) Macedonian Folk Dress, 1930, decoration on 2000 denars bill
Olga Benson (1887-1977) Macedonian Folk Dress, 1930, decoration on 2000 denars bill
Olga Benson (1887-1977) Macedonian Folk Dress, 1930, watercolor
Olga Benson (1887-1977) Macedonian Folk Dress, 1930, watercolor
Olga Benson (1887-1977) Macedonian Folk Dress, 1930, watercolor
Olga Benson (1887-1977) Macedonian Folk Dress, 1930, watercolor
Olga Benson (1887-1977) Macedonian Folk Dress, 1930, watercolor
Olga Benson (1887-1977) Macedonian Folk Dress, 1930, watercolor
OlgaBenson (1887-1977) Bride from Krivogashtani, Pelagonia, 1930, watercolor
OlgaBenson (1887-1977) Bride from Krivogashtani, Pelagonia, 1930, watercolor
OlgaBenson (1887-1977)Photograph of the artist 1930
OlgaBenson (1887-1977)Photograph of the artist 1930

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About Me

Vlatko potpis s

This lexicon is a result of my 15 years long period of researching & documenting the personalities and the artworks of the foreign painters, sculptors, illustrators, and photographers having visited different spots of the geographic territory of Macedonia, there having created works of art there over a 100-years long period i.e. between 1850-1950. Their presence and artwork in the Macedonian milieus represent a notable cultural heritage to the international linkage of the ethnic Macedonians as well as to all the ethnicities living in the picturesque territory of Macedonia and the cultures of modern-day countries spread over parts of the geographic territory of Macedonia. Witnessing the artistic contributions of the foreign artist, we are proud of their Macedonia-themed creative works and experiences. I believe that their artworks, having been inspired and created over the vast region of Macedonia, unite us all in these challenging times, and under the facts and the values of the artistic beauty.

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