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Thomas Hart Benton Wall Art

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Thomas Hart Benton (Born 1889) is the best known muralist of the 1930s. He’s associated with the American Scene Painting movement of those ages. Along with John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood, he was at the head of the Regionalist art movement. He studied in Paris, but his work is strongly associated with the Midwestern United States. The sculpted, fluid figures in his paintings showed ordinary people in scenes of life in the U.S. Benton lived in New York City for over 20 years and painted several works there. He summered for fifty years off the New England coast on Martha's Vineyard, and also painted scenes of the American West and South. His stylized, vivid portrayal of the agrarian and pre-industrial life and his emphasis on the plight of the working class earned him a reputation as a social activist in the post-Depression era. He also gained exposure through public works projects.

In 1907, through the encouragement of his mother, he enrolled at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. In 1909, he moved to Paris and continued with his art education at the Académie Julian. He was supported financially and emotionally by his mother in his work of art until he married at about 30 years of age. In Paris, the artist met other North American artists, such as Stanton Macdonald-Wright and the Mexican Diego Rivera. Influenced by the former, he subsequently adopted a Synchromist style. In the early 1920s, he returned to New York and he declared that he was an "enemy of modernism." Benton began the representational and naturalistic work which is today known as Regionalism.
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