The Right Honourable Richard Bedford Bennett
Object name: Painting
Artist: Kenneth Keith Forbes
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 127 x 102.2 cm
Catalogue no.: O-631
Prime Minister John Diefenbaker initiated the commissioning of the official portrait of Richard Bedford Bennett following inquiries from several political friends. The Minister of Public Works oversaw the process and selected the portraitist Kenneth Keith Forbes. The artist relied on a photograph and his personal recollections of the Prime Minister, whom he had already painted from a sitting in 1938.
Kenneth Keith Forbes received his early art instruction in Toronto from his father, the distinguished Canadian portraitist John Colin Forbes. After winning a scholarship, he continued his education in Arbroath, Scotland, and at the London New Art School. He was a staunch critic of modern art and champion of the traditionalist school of painting. His numerous commissions included portraits of the Speakers of both the Senate and the House of Commons.