PROF FRANCE BENKO
The ever-present encounters with the work of others in his restoration experience is evident in the personal creative works of France Benko. In his realistic and ambitiously colourful depictions of Nature, the artist has incorporated religious motifs and ethnographic apparitions as the heritage of his homeland. His mastery of painting techniques enables various approaches with drawing and choice of colour palette.
Alenka Černelič Krošelj, Lecturer of Art History, Ethnologist and Cultural Anthropologist
I.C.C.N. - D.L.U.S. - A.S.C.
I.A.A.- A.I.A.P. - UNESCO, PARIS
Expert art restorer - conservator
"Daugter Nina Lassen, Denmark, remembers: “My father was born on 29th October 1915 at Bled.
His mother donated the bell for the church at Bled. He worked for the Museum in Ljubljana, but then moved to Holland
(between 1953–1955). He was at Rijksmuseum for some time but then later worked for a private collector in
Den Haag. My parents moved to Australia in September 1957.
My father had his own studio and had many known customers such as Australian Gallery, Rogowsky, Brown.
He stopped working some time in the 80s where his eyesight was getting very poor.
Due to ill health, my parents moved to Mother Romana Home in 2001 and my father died on 15th July 2003 after suffering 5 strokes.
In all that time they frequently visited Europe to visit me and my family, their one and only daughter, who moved to Denmark.”
Prof. Benko je nedavno dovršil največje delo v Avstraliji - restavriral je 40 starih slik v katedrali sv. Patricka v Melbournu . . .
Odkar je začel z restavriranjem, je v 20 letih restavriral nad 1000 umetnin, med drugim: porcelanasti čajni vrč dinastije Ming, stole Ludvika XIV, slike holandskih, francoskih in italijanskih mojstrov, bakrene vaze iz izkopanin v Italiji, Egiptu in Jugoslaviji . . .
Največje in najtežje delo je dovršil v gradu Dolenjskih Toplic v Sloveniji. Preslikal je stare freske iz leta 1680, katere je pokvaril dež, ko so med drugo svetovno vojno v gradu razbili okna.
Misli, september 1962, str. 276
Prof Benko has recently completted the largest work in Australia - he restored 40 old paintings in St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne.
In the last 20 years he restored more than 1000 impostant artworks, among them: china teapot of the Ming Dinasty, the chairs of Ludwig XIV, paintings of Dutch, French and Italian masters, copper urns and vases from the Italian, Egyptian and former Yugoslavian archeological sites. The largest and the hardest work of restoration he completted at the Dolenjske Toplice Castle in Slovenia. He repainted old frescoes from year 1680, whichwere rain damaged, due to broken windows during the Second World War.
Translated from Slovenian by Draga Gelt
Prof. France Benko je bil zelo prijazen, družaben, vedno dobre volje. Srečala sem ga pred mnogimi leti kot lepo govorečega gospoda s francosko kapico in vedno je mahal z rokami, ko je govoril in nabiral ideje. Na Nizozemskem je restavriral gotsko stolnico sv. Janeza v SchertoganBosch. Videla sem njegovo delo in ponosna in vesela sem bila, posebno presenečena, da je delo Slovenca tudi v najbolj poznani stolnici na Nizozemskem. O njem je Channel 2 pokazal tudi dokumentarni film na avstralski televiziji leta 1961.
V Kew je delal mozaik za cerkev. Jože Golenko mu je veliko pomagal pri zbiranju in rezanju ploščic in mu naredil okvir za mozaik, ki je prenosljiv.
Bil je vegetarijanec in se bavil veliko z zdravilnimi zelišči.
Helena Leber se spominja, avgust 2009
Prof Benko was a very friendly man, loved to socialise and always in a good mood. I met him many years ago as a well spoken gentleman with a French barret , always waving his hands while speaking, collecting ideas. In Netherland he restored the Gothic cathedral St Jans Schertogan Bosch. I have seen his work and I was very proud, especially surprised, how in such a famous cathedral in Netherland, there is work of a Slovenian.
Channel 2 (now ABC) filmed a documentary about Prof Benko in 1961.
For the Slovenian church At Kew, Melbourne, he created the altar mosaic. Jože Golenko helped him cutting the tiles and made a frame, which can be moved.
Prof Benko was a vegetarian and his hobby was medicinal plants. His mother was very religious and has helped the clergy at Lake Bled very much.
Translated from Slovenian by Draga Gelt