Renowned Art
Thomas Hart Benton Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975)
Thomas Hart Benton was born in Neosho, Missouri. His cartoon-like paintings showed everyday scenes of the contemporary Midwest, especially bucolic images of pre-industrial farmlands. Benton's sympathy was with the agricultural working class and the small farmer, caught in the path of the Industrial Revolution. His works often show the melancholy, desperation and beauty of small-town life.
Kentuckian
Plowing It Under
Off
Mississippi
Ballad of the Jealous Lover
Vineyard
Kansas City

Viewer

Plowing It Under, 1934,
oil on pre-primed linen, 19 1/2 x 24 inches

An outspoken art personality of his time, artist Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) was also a premier American teacher, critic, painter, muralist, printmaker, illustrator, and writer. For the first time in Seattle, the collected works from the artist's estate in Kansas City will be exhibited at the Frye Art Museum, beginning April 29, 2000.

Often identified as a "regionalist" artist, Benton was selected to be the first artist featured on the cover of Time, making him one of the most recognized artists in America in the 1930s.

"On the Road with Thomas Hart Benton" illustrates how travel produced some of the greatest works of art in Benton's long career. From the Ozarks to the Appalachians and the Rockies, throughout the South, and into the West, Benton sketched and painted America in transition. Traveling alone, by foot, and automobile, carrying little more than pencils and sketchbooks, Benton explored remote regions of America in the early 20th century. In his drawings, Benton is an artist and historian, an acute observer who was also the proud descendant of a conservative political family, closely tied to the advancement of the frontier and the settlement of the West. He witnessed America's transition from a rural, agricultural nation at the turn of the century to an urban, industrialized world power.

Beginning in the 1920s. Benton used drawing to chronicle his travels. sketching and recording the derails of changing American life as he encountered it on the back roads of America. Inspired by early campaign travels in Missouri with his father M.E. Benton, who was elected to Congress as a Populist in 1897, Benton set out to capture the essence of contemporary America.
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