Thomas Hart Benton
Printmaker, painter and educator Thomas Hart Benton was born in Neosho, Missouri on April 15, 1889 to Colonel M.E. Benton and Elizabeth Wise Benton. He was named for his grand uncle who for thirty years was a Senator from Missouri. He studied art at the Art Institute in Chicago and the Academie Julian in Paris. He taught at the Art Students League and at the Kansas Art Institute. His images of the American heartland along with his contemporaries, Grant Wood and John S. Curry, were the starting point of the American Regionalist movement.
Benton worked and studied in Paris from 1908 to 1911 where he met and befriended many artists who, like himself, would become famous. The most notable were, the Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, and the American modernist, John Marin. Benton quickly learned the French language, embraced French literature and discovered chamber music. It is important to note that music and literature were important aspects of Benton’s work throughout his life.
He produced “The Station”, his first lithograph, in 1929 and in 1940 he illustrated John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” for the Limited Editions Club. He died in his studio in Kansas City, Missouri in 1975.