Thomas Hart Benton

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Description: Postcard of self-portrait of Thomas Hart Benton, painted by the artist in 1970
Location: SC58
Collection: Mrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)See finding aid:,36981
Historical Article: A self-portrait of Thomas Hart Benton, painted by the artist in 1970, was published in color by James Tetrick of Kansas City.Benton, the Kansas City muralist, is pictured at work, brush in hand and dressed in a green sweater and one of the comfortable checkered cotton flannel shirts he so often wore anywhere from one of his classes at the Kansas City Art Institute to an annual formal dinner of the Missouri State Historical Society, at Columbia, Mo.He was first, last and always himself. His murals and paintings brought a life of zest and controversy. His great scenes in the Missouri Capitol, the Truman Library, Joplin and elsewhere, made him one of the most viewed artists of our age, said a Kansas City Times story at his death in January 1975.During his work on a mural in his later years he would say, This is my last. This happened three different times, but he was always lured back to tackle another project.You can't retire from life. You've got to do something, he said in the April before his death. You can't just quit working. The only way an artist can personally fail is to quit work. He never quit.His last work was a mural for the Country Music Foundation in Nashvile, Tenn. His death occurred in his studio the day after its completion.In his book An Artist in America, he wrote: When I sit above the waters of the Missouri, I feel they belong to me and I to them. Harry Truman said of him, He was the best damned painter in Missouri.Today the Benton Home and studio are on state and national historic sites registers. They are at 3616 Belleview, Kansas City, Mo., in the wooded Roanoke district, and are open to the public for guided tours Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.Original paintings, prints, lithographs and studies are on display. The home furnishings and arrangements remain much as they were when Benton and his wife, Rita Piacenzo Benton, lived there.Kansas City TimesFebruary 24, 1989
Barcode: 20000699
Item Type: Postcard


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