Saturday, February 16, 2013
Thomas Hart Benton
Back to Connecticut.
Thomas Hart Benton painted during the Depression. Though schooled in France and acquainted with modern art trends, Benton rejected them in favor of a brightly painted style honoring ordinary Americans engaged in the everyday activities of life.
This mural -- The Arts of Life in America -- was commissioned by New York's Whitney Museum to fit a parlor in the museum. In the 1950s, the Whitney decided that it wanted to devoted the space to modernist art by painters like Jackson Pollock, so the New Britain Museum of American Art acquired it for $500 and has shown the mural in its own room ever since.
I showed part of this mural before. One of the things I loved when I saw it again in December was the pair of benches that, to me, enhanced the setting.