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Explore the Life and Work of Missouri’s Thomas Hart Benton

Explore the Life and Work of Missouri’s Thomas Hart Benton

April 23, 2020

When I was growing up, my mom often shared her interest in Thomas Hart Benton’s paintings with her three kids. She would tell us the story of how she took a high school art class with his nephew, who she thought had a similar style of painting as his uncle. Benton’s preparation process for creating his paintings was unique, and she was fascinated by the way he visualized and produced his finished works.

Always one of her favorite artists, a reproduction of Benton’s Persephone still has a place of honor in her home. Of course, the Benton mural at the Truman Library, Independence and the Opening of the West, is well known to those of us who live in the area. Last fall, my husband and I spent some time traveling Route 66 in Missouri. One of our very first stops was Joplin, where the City Hall houses one of Benton’s last murals, Joplin at the Turn of the Century.

If you’ve visited the Missouri capitol building on a tour, chances are you’ve seen his mural in the House Lounge on the third floor, A Social History of the State of Missouri. His home and art studio (3616 Belleview Avenue in Kansas City) are a state historic site and are an easy day trip to add to your to-do list when state parks reopen.

To read about Benton and his influence on everything from Civil Rights to Hollywood to Jackson Pollock, be sure to search “Thomas Hart Benton artist” in the search box of the Library’s website. Scroll down to “Articles,” and then click “See All Results” on the right. In the pane on the left, select the checkbox to “Limit to Full Text.” You can complete these steps to find trustworthy information on a variety of topics. If you would prefer to jump right to articles about Thomas Hart Benton, use this link (Library card number needed to access this link).

You can also learn more about Benton’s influence on American culture and art by watching Ken Burns: Thomas Hart Benton or Thomas Hart Benton: Tom Benton’s Missouri, which is an explanation of the Missouri capitol’s historic mural. Both videos are available through Access Video on Demand.

Stay at home, and learn about this famous Missourian!

Terri M.
Consumer Technology Specialist

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