Friday, December 22, 2006

Art Blogging: Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) was an American painter, printmaker, and muralist. He was born in the Ozarks, the son of a Congressman. After dropping out of high school, he studied art in Chicago and Paris, before setting up an atelier in New York City in 1912. He built a successful career and then moved to Kansas City 1941 to become director of the City Art Institute there, remaining the duration of his life. Benton rejected both Academic and Modernist norms for Regionalism -- a 20th Century American movement that celebrated small-town and rural life. This movement, which peaked in the 1930s, reflected American conservativism and nationalism.

The Trail Riders (1964-1965).

Approaching Storm (1938) -- a lithograph.

Island Hay (1945) -- a lithograph.

I've chosen these three particular images because they show Benton's mastery of the line. His works are vast collections of swirling, curved lines. It's kind of like Van Gogh's Starry Night, don't you think?

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