Howard Ben Tré

born New York City 1949-died Pawtucket, RI 2020
Also known as
  • Howard B. Ben Tre
  • Howard Ben Tre
New York, New York, United States
Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States
Active in
  • Providence, Rhode Island, United States
  • American

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Howard Ben Tré earned a B.S.A. degree in ceramics at Portland State University, Oregon, in 1978 and an M.F.A. degree in sculpture and glass at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, in 1980. He now lives and works in Providence. Ben Tré was awarded National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in 1980, 1984, and 1990 and also received Rhode Island State Council on the Arts fellowships in 1979, 1984, and 1990. He was the recipient of the Boston Society of Architects Art & Architecture Collaboration Award in 1993. Unlike studio glass artists, Ben Tré casts his sculptures in a glass factory with the help of industrial equipment and trained assistants.

Kenneth R. Trapp and Howard Risatti Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998)

Artist Biography

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Howard Ben Tré received his undergraduate degree from Portland State University, Oregon, and earned an MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1980. Since the late 1970s, when he first became interested in making cast-glass sculptures, Ben Tré has won international recognition for his work.

Early in his career Ben Tré made objects that resembled turbine engines, radiators, and other items that alluded to the world of industry. His work has since taken on a columnar format and become larger in scale. An industrial ethos still clings to the work, but it frequently also refers to art of the past, including architectural elements borrowed from ancient temples or ziggurats. Almost from the beginning, Ben Tré rejected hand-blown glass, preferring to cast molten glass, using methods he had learned in a metal-foundry class at Brooklyn Technical High School.

Ben Tré works in his studio in Providence, Rhode Island, but periodically heads for a factory in his hometown of Brooklyn, where he casts his sculptures.

National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)