Thomas Hart Benton
Still Life, 1951
Oil on canvas
24 x 12 inches
The son of a congressman from Missouri, Benton studied at the School of the Art institute of Chicago and the Académie Julien in Paris. He lived and painted in New York for several years before serving in the navy during World War I. After the war, Benton turned away from the modernist style he had been pursuing and embraced the naturalism and concern for everyday life of what would come to be called regionalism. Indeed, thanks in part to a series of high-profile mural commissions, he helped popularize the style and in 1934 was lauded by Timemagazine (in a cover story that featured his self-portrait) as a master of regionalism.
In addition to murals, Benton was a profilic creator of lithographs and oil and tempera paintings, and he even painted porcelain vessels. His paintings, which usually addressed life in Middle America, ranged in scale and subject from the heroic to the intimate, as is the case with this vibrant still life.