Frank Weston Benson spent his life immersed in art, and his many scenes and transitional periods are captured across his canvases. His earliest work would depict conventional landscapes, then move to formal portraiture, and then reach its most stylistic period when he began relying on Realism and Impressionism to capture outdoor scenes of his family and surrounding landscapes. He would eventually begin to focus on the outdoors, and its wildlife, even painting the scene depicted on the second Federal Duck Stamp in 1935.
His early focus on landscapes painted both in his home of Salem, Massachusetts and during his studies abroad in Paris, was for the most part successful, but conventional work. During that time he was relying on a combination of techniques, including Realism and Impressionism.
He refined his technique through portrait and mural work, and by the late 1880s he began to focus on "design" in his work, using his family as his models. During this time he was able to achieve great success relying on "plein air" Impressionism, especially when painting scenes from his family's summers spent in New Hampshire and Maine.
His professional career always included teaching, and throughout his life he would dedicate considerable time to the Boston Museum school. He would also become a member of the famous "The Ten", a group of New York and Boston based artists who formally resigned from the Society of American Artists in protest of their commercial and political practices, and their negligence of art in favor of business. The group would hold their own exhibitions for twenty years, until death and old age prevented many of the members from contributing.
From the late 1880s and onward Benson developed a popular following. By the late 1930s his retrospective showings were drawing large numbers of people. His final exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, in 1938 drew such large numbers that it broke all previous records of attendance to that date. His works are still earning high prices at auction, and in 1995 an oil painting of Benson's drew a four million dollar sale price.