Ward Bennett’s career began at age 13, when he quit school to work in New York’s Garment District. At 16 he went to Europe and continued working in fashion.
Despite attending art schools in Florence and Paris, he was mostly self-taught, with skills ranging from jewelry-making to interior design. “I learn from people,” he said, referencing influences including Georgia O’Keeffe.
Bennett eventually settled in New York, where his reputation earned him many high-profile clients. Lyndon Johnson later asked Bennett to design a chair for his presidential library—“a cross between a barroom chair and a courtroom chair with a little Western saddle.”