Monday, October 2, 2017

Thomas Hart Benton - Brittany Kampfer

Thomas Hart Benton
Thomas Hart Benton was born in 1889 in Neosho, Missouri. His family's history of living in the Bible belt and of being politicians highly influenced his murals, through which he sought to support political republicanism. From an early age, he was expected to follow his family's footsteps. After his first job as a cartoonist for the local paper showed potential for Benton to become a great artist, he deviated from his family's path and decided to pursue a degree in the arts at the Institute of Chicago, studying under Frederick Oswald. Two years later, in 1909, he moved to Paris to study at the well-known Academie Julian, where he had the opportunity to meet many other famous artists such as Diego Rivera and Stanton Macdonald-Wright. When he settled in New York in 1913, he experimented with different styles of drawing. He found his artistic identity during World War I, where he joined the U.S. Navy. In his time as a Navy man, he realized he was most comfortable with and enjoyed drawing and painting realistic scenes and landscapes. After earning degrees at both the University of Missouri and Lincoln University at Jefferson City, Missouri, he began to be commissioned for painting murals. New York's New School of Social Research commissioned Benton to paint a suite of murals named "American Today." These murals now hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

City Activities with Subway, from America Today

Metropolitan Museum of Art with Benton's murals
Another famous Benton mural sparked some controversy i
n 1936. Benton finished A Social History of the State of Missouri, in which he incorporated the Ku Klux Klan into the mural. This mural was still viewed as an important and significant part of the state’s history, therefore, it was allowed to remain hanging. 
A Social History of the State of Missouri
Benton received a few awards and continued to make a lasting impression unto the art community until his death on January 19, 1975, at 85 years old. He was working on a mural for the Country Music Hall of Fame of Nashville, Tennessee. This work, entitled The Sources of Country Music, remains unfinished and unsigned. 
I decided to write my report on Thomas Benton because my friend is really into art. Benton is one of her favorite artists, and I would like to be able to talk with her about his works. I appreciate that Benton has many various sketches about daily life and animals. I enjoy the refreshing depictions of realistic drawing and paintings. I am not a huge fan of modern art or abstract art because I can never quite grasp the meaning of it, although that is the point of those types of art. 

Coffee Break

Indian Study


Benton, T. H. (1968). Benton drawings a collection of drawings. Columbia: University of Missouri Press.

Thomas Hart Benton | American Modernism | Metropolitan Museum of Art. (n.d.). Retrieved October 1, 2017, from

“Thomas Hart Benton Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works.” The Art Story,

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