Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

Laurel, MS



On the Road with Thomas Hart Benton: Images of a Changing America


From the time he visited his father's deathbed in Missouri until his own death 51 years later standing at an easel in Kansas City, Thomas Hart Benton was an artist exploring his roots.

On the Road with Thomas Hart Benton: Images of a Changing America, on display at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art through Oct. 17, 1999 is a collection of Benton's works depicting scenes of Missouri and the Midwest, the South, the West, mountains, rivers and cities. Perhaps the most comprehensive exhibition of Benton's paintings ever organized, the show offers a unique opportunity for the people of Mississippi, Curator of Collections Dr. Michael DeMarsche said. "This extensive exhibition is particularly important considering Benton's responsibility for the thriving environment in Mississippi for the visual arts," DeMarsche added.

Images from left to right: Jon Boat, 1973, tempera and acrylic on board, 27 1/2 x 36 inches; Mississippi Flood, 1937, sepia wash and ink, 9 x 12 inches; Cotton Bin, n.d., oil on tin, 9 x 12 3/4 inches; Sheepherder, c. 1955-60, oil on canvas, 48 x 66 inches; Tennessee Fiddler "Dudley Vance" R.D.1, Bluff City, Tennessee, c. 1930-32, sepia wash, ink and pencil, 11 3/4 x 9 inches.

Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) is a widely recognized American painter, muralist, printmaker and illustrator - and in 1934 was the first artist ever featured on the cover of Time magazine. He studied and worked in the art worlds of Chicago, Paris and New York and experimented with modernist art forms and theories.

However, after a 1924 visit to his dying father in Springfield, Mo., the artist felt and acted upon a renewed interest in his native region. "I was moved by a desire to pick up again the threads of my childhood," Benton wrote in his 1937 autobiography, "An Artist in America."

Local sponsors of On the Road with Thomas Hart Benton: Images of a Changing America are Deposit Guaranty National Bank, Busby Outdoor, Howse Implement Company, Evelyn and Michael Jefcoat, Jefferson Medical Associates, Jitney Jungle Stores of America, Susie and Greg Rustin, and South Central Regional Medical Center. The exhibition was organized by the Morris Museum of Art and toured by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services.

If you are interested in "American Scene" art of the 1930s and 40s you may enjoy the WPA Period Print Collection Directory from the University of Montana. See also an article on the Museum of Art Tallahassee website.

More web resources on Benton:

Learn more in Resource Library Magazine about the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

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rev. 3/20/00

For further biographical information on Thomas Hart Benton please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/26/10

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