West Texas

Benton, West Texas

West Texas 1952, oil on board 9 x 11 inches Essay by Henry Adams Author of Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original Around 1950, as Regionalism came under attack, Benton began to make trips into the lonely regions of the west and to produce paintings of western subject matter based on the sketches that he … Continue reading

Harbor Scene

Thomas Hart Benton, Harbor Scene

Harbor Scene, Norfolk1918, watercolor 10 x 14.5 inches Signed lower left “Benton” Essay by Henry Adams Author of Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original In 1918, to avoid being drafted in the infantry, Benton used family influence to get a position in the Navy, safely off the battlefield. In September 1918, after being trained to … Continue reading

Sugar Cane

Thomas Hart Benton, Sugar Cane

1. Sugar Cane Essay by Henry Adams Author of Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original This Sugar Cane painting (above) was a sort of indirect result of several commissions that Thomas Hart Benton was working on at that time, which had been arranged by his New York art gallery, Associated American Artists, and which paid … Continue reading

The Birth of Regionalism

Thomas Hart Benton's Self Portrait on the cover of Time Magazine

During the early 30s, American artists began a departure from the work of their European counterparts, instead looking to their own surroundings for inspiration. In 1934, TIME magazine gave a name to this trend: the “U.S. Scene” or “Regional art”. The corresponding article recognized Benton’s influence as a leader in the movement, and, appropriately, the … Continue reading

Construction Scene (Excavation)

Thomas Hart Benton, Construction Scene (Excavation)

Essay by Henry Adams Author of Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original I included [this drawing] in an exhibition of Benton’s best drawings organized by the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle.  At that time it was still owned by the Benton Trust.  You’ll find it reproduced in the book that accompanied this show, Thomas Hart … Continue reading

Thomas Hart Benton at Martha’s Vineyard

Thomas Hart Benton, The Lord is My Shepherd

Benton made his first trip to Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 1920. His wife Rita invited Benton to join her, believing the country atmosphere would have a soothing effect. In Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original, Henry Adams writes: “He returned every summer to the island, and for the first half of the 1920s, … Continue reading

The Bicyclers

Thomas Hart Benton, The Bicyclers

Essay by Henry Adams Author of Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original The Bicyclers, circa 1960-61, acrylic polymer emulsion on canvas mounted on panel, 30 x 40 inches, is a well-documented example of Benton’s work that is reproduced in the monograph by Matthew Baigell, Thomas Hart Benton, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1974, plate 197. … Continue reading

Express Train (Going West)

Thomas Hart Benton, Express Train (Going West), lithographic crayon

Essay by Dr. Henry Adams Author of Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original At the risk of seeming to indulge in hyperbole, I think this is one of Benton’s very finest drawings, ranking with the best drawings by him I have seen. Indeed, if one were choosing one drawing by him to sum up his … Continue reading

History of Water

Thomas Hart Benton, History of Water

Essay by Dr. Henry Adams Author of “Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original Thomas Hart Benton established his reputation in the 1930s with five mural projects which changed the face of American art and provided the principle artistic model for the WPA mural program. They are generally considered the most important mural projects ever executed … Continue reading