Another awesome painter. I love his work.
Thomas Hart Benton was a major American artist from Missouri. His paintings are famous for showing ordinary people doing common things. He drew and painted portraits, landscapes, and scenes of people at work in farms, factories, and busy cities. His best-known works are public murals, or scenes on the inside walls of buildings. Benton’s murals are lively records of life in America from pioneer times onward.
Thomas Hart Benton was born in Neosho, Missouri, on April 15, 1889. He was the oldest child of Maecenas Eason Benton and Elizabeth Wise Benton. He was named after his great-great-uncle, Thomas Hart Benton, the famous Missouri senator. Tom’s father was a successful lawyer. He served as U.S. attorney for Missouri and was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1896.
Young Thomas Hart Benton loved to draw. While his mother encouraged him to draw, his father did not. When the Bentons moved to Washington, D C in 1896, Tom loved the art he saw in the capital city. He really liked seeing the Library of Congress murals. They made him want to become a mural painter or muralist. Tom also learned how to make cartoon like figures or caricatures by reading cartoons in the Washington Post.
In 1904 Maecenas Benton was defeated, and the family returned to Missouri. Thomas Hart Benton grew restless in Neosho and left home in 1906. He took a job as staff artist for a local newspaper in Joplin, Missouri. From there he went to Illinois to study painting for one year at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Benton wanted to study art in Europe. In 1908 he moved to Paris, France, and took art classes. Soon Benton began to study on his own. He spent half his time inside the art museum drawing important paintings. He spent the rest of his time outside, painting what interested him. He tried different styles of painting. He found out that he liked using bright colors to show real people in real places doing a variety of activities.