Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton is one of America's most renowned artists.Benton was famous for his painting style and his murals.Benton believed that art was an excellent way to depict everyday life for everyday people in America.Benton was a champion of the people and rebelled against the rich and powerful.Though he studied the newer art movements of the time such as cubism and modernism he quickly dropped those styles.Benton felt the newer art styles were of no help to him in showing life on the farm and small communities as he grew up in.Benton also felt the modern art styles were not directed to the common person.Benton thought that art should be for everyday people and reflect those people's lives and lifestyles.Benton was a man who stood his ground as you can see in his expression on his Shelf Portrait.
He was determined to express himself his own way. Later he became part of the art movement known as American Regionalism.Regionalists turned their backs on the abstract style of the time.They chose to show the common people and the world around them.Other famous Regionalists include Grant Wood and John Stewart Curry.Regionalists not only showed the world around them, they also depicted historical events.
Benton was born in Neosho, Missouri in 1889.He was the son of Congressman Maecerias E. Benton and the grandnephew of Missouri'sfirst senator, Thomas Hart Benton, for whom he was named.Benton received hisfirst formal art lessons from the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C. while his father served in congress.Later, he attended the Chicago Art Institute, then at the Academic Julien in Paris, France.While in Paris, he studied the old masters and became heavily influenced by the style of El Greco.Benton then returned to the states to work in New York.There he spent several years keeping company with the likes of famous photographer Alfred Stieglitz.


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