Artists in the History

Thomas Hart Benton

On December 24, 1934, Benton was considered one of the three leading American regionalist artists, along with Grant Wood (American, 1891-1942) and John Stuart Curry (American, 1897-1946) when his work (self portrait) appeared on the cover of Time magazine. In 1935, Benton left New York and settled permanently in Kansas City, Missouri, where he taught at the International Art Students League in New York.

Benton taught at the Art Students League for several years, where he influenced a new generation of American artists, including Jackson Pollock. Around 1929. Benton became the representative of American regionalist artists and was associated with the regionalism, an art movement known for its emphasis on agrarian cultural ideals.

In 1932, Benton also painted The Art of Living in America, a series of large murals for an early site at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Benton appeared on one of the first color covers of Time magazine on 24 December 1934 and Regionalism has been hailed as a significant art movement. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the gallery of Associated American Artists in New York hosted a successful retrospective of Benton’s work in 1939.

Thomas Hart Benton (Thomas Hart Benton) is one of the leaders of American art regionalism movement. From his childhood to the end of his life in 1975, he was a prolific painter, muralist, and draftsman. And sculptor, now known for his realistic depictions of American life. It was considered the direct antithesis of the modernist movement cultivated in Europe.

Then he spent a lot of time in the city (Washington DC, Chicago, Paris, New York) in the 1920s and 1930s ; he never forgot his rural roots but in 1928 he discovered the south when traveling from Pittsburgh to New Mexico via Georgia and Louisiana. Benton worked in 1906 as a cartoonist in Joplin, Missouri, and then studied at the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1947, when Benton painted him for a Kansas City department store in 1947, East Coast critics had already called him a rough, outspoken provincial artist, so he may have played with his critics with his vibrant colors and athletic figures. In this large postwar fresco a tall allegorical figure holding a laurel wreath and dragging a red drapery looks particularly out of place. Interestingly, this mural was painted in 1947 just during the implementation of the Marshall Plan.

Today, you can see five wall panels at the New British Museum of American Art. These panels were purchased in 1953. Benton maintained a special relationship with the museum for the rest of his life. The museum includes 5 preliminary sketches of the series and an almost complete series of Benton lithographs.

The mural represents three decades of the establishment of Independence through Benton’s work on the mural in the early 1960s, three years after the founding of the Truman Library, which depicts tall skyscrapers that were indicators of the new modern city, urban planning and industrialism. The presence of the ship is reminiscent of Benton’s previous work for the US Navy and reminds us of the importance of New York as a port city.

His work is closely linked to the United States Midwest, the region he was born and which he called home for most of his life, lived in New York for over 20 years and wrote dozens of works there, spent 50 years on Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of New England, painted southern scenes and the American West and left Missouri in 1907 to study at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Julian Academy in Paris and his father sent him to the Western Military Academy in 1905-06 to prepare him for a political career.

In his early writings, a left-wing political philosophy was evident, much like his fathers – members of the House of Representatives from 1894 to 1904 – both opposed Eastern Bankers, Railway’s magnates and Industrial Capitalists.

Benton ( April 15, 1889 – January 19, 1975 ) was an American painter and monumental painter, born in Neosho, Missouri. Together with Grant Wood and John Stuart Curry, he was at the forefront of the regionalist art movement with his flowing sculptural figures depicting ordinary people in scenes from the life in the United States.

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