1939 - 1975
Painter and muralist Thomas Hart Benton used these paint brushes at his Kansas City home and studio. Born on April 15, 1889, in Neosho, Missouri, Benton spent much of his early life in Southwest Missouri and Washington DC. After studying at the Art Institute of Chicago and in Paris, he eventually settled in New York City in 1911. At the forefront of the Regionalist art movement of the 1930s, Benton is best known for depicting scenes from everyday American life, with a concentration on the Midwest and Missouri. His art often included controversial elements or themes as social critique.
Benton returned to Missouri in 1935 and purchased a late Victorian stone house and adjoining carriage house in the upscale Roanoke Park neighborhood of Kansas City four years later. He lived in the home with his wife, Rita, and two children, and converted the carriage house into his art studio. He painted the glass on all the windows not facing north to create a consistent light source — one such painted window serves as the backdrop for the used paint brushes. When he died at work in his studio in 1975, Benton left an unfinished canvas, paints, and paint brushes stored in mugs and coffee cans, which still contain paint from when he last used them. The Thomas Hart Benton home and studio were opened as a Missouri State Historic Site in 1977.
Date: 1939 - 1975
Subject: Art; Benton, Thomas Hart
Contributing Institution: Missouri State Parks - Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site
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Region: Kansas City Metro