Benton, Thomas Hart
- Annett Richter
(b Neosho, MO, 15 April 1889; d Kansas City, MO, 19 Jan 1975). American painter, muralist, illustrator, folklorist, harmonica player. Widely known as a Regionalist painter, Benton repeatedly captures in his art American musicians and scenes of music-making, both urban and rural. As a folklorist, he observed during his sketching trips rural vocal and instrumental traditions of black and white musicians, describing them vividly through word and image in his autobiography, An Artist in America (1937; rev. 4/1983).
Benton created portraits of musicians and composers he knew, among others Missouri Musicians (1931), The Sun Treader (Portrait of Carl Ruggles) (1934), Edgard Varèse (c. 1934), The Music Lesson (1943) [Gale Huntington (1902–93)], Portrait of David Mannes (1949), and The Hymn Singer (The Minstrel) (1950) [Burl Ives]. His Portrait of a Musician (...