Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My Mothers Favorite

Thomas Hart Benton
Medium and Support: lithograph on paper

Thomas Hart Benton, an American Regionalist artist, was born in Neosho, Missouri in 1889. At an early age, Benton looked beyond his storied political familial roots to a career as an artist. He studied at the Chicago Art Institute and the Academie Julien in Paris where he developed his new style. He then settled in New York and painted in the Synchromist style of his schoolmate, Stanton Macdonald-Wright.

Thomas Hart Benton

The Ballad of the Jealous Lover of Lone Green Valley
Oil and tempra on canvas

In 1920, Benton switched to the Regionalist style, depicting scenes of American life. Benton's great love, however, was the common man and his plight. His paintings delight in glorifying this backbone of the American consciousness. Known as a great mural painter, Benton created images for the Missouri Capitol Building, the New School for Social Research in New York City, the Power Authority of the State of New York, and the Indiana Capitol Building.

Thomas Hart Benton
The Lord is my Shepherd, 1926
Tempera on Canvas

Thomas Hart Benton
Industry (Women Spinning)
Oil on canvas

He became the director of the City Art Institute and School of Design in Kansas City, Missouri in 1935 and remained there for the rest of his life. After the decline of Regionalism, Benton began painting scenes of American history. He also wrote two autobiographies titled “An Artist in America” and “An American in Art.” He painted throughout his entire life of 76 years. In fact, at the time he passed away, he had his brushes in his hands and was seated in front of his final mural that he had just completed. The world's largest public collection of his works is located at Missouri's own Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Thomas Hart Benton
The Artists' Show, Washington Square, New York 1946
Oil and tempera on canvas

My mother was a huge fan of Bentons and during her periods of Bipolar Mania she would drag me all over the country to visit museums and gallery openings. I recall these times as the best in my childhood, and this is how my appreciation for the arts formed. My father on the other hand thought much differently, because of the huge amounts of money that my mother would spend and the fact that he was never really sure where we were or what she was "doing" in my presence. Needless to say my mother was prone to very risky behavior however, thats a whole different post.

I have had the opportunity to visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum and I have visited the murals at both the Missouri and Indiana Capitol Bulidings. If you ever have a chance to see Bentons work I urge you to do so. His paintings are wonderful!

Have a great day and as always comments are appreciated.

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N Posted by Rain at 10/03/2006 07:39:00 AM


  • Anonymous Anonymous posted at 9:08 PM  

    Your mother could have taught art if she wanted to and she had excellent taste...something you inherited from your mother.

    I love you, Candy
  • Blogger Arthur Quiller Couch posted at 5:32 AM  
    So Hart Benton is a modern master and all that, but who painted that babe with the cutlass on your template?
    More important, who was the model?!
  • Blogger Lyndon posted at 12:44 PM  
    Thomas certainly had a very distinctive style. I love the last picture you chose to show :-)
  • Blogger Rain posted at 9:37 PM  
    Candy, thank you. I love you too dolly!

    Athur Quiller Couch, Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

    As far as the Pirate Queen she was made by Lethal Threat, please see the link under the credits on my side bar.

    Lyndon, you are so cool! =0)
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