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Thomas Hart Benton
Thomas Hart Benton
TitleThomas Hart Benton
DescriptionPostcard of self-portrait of Thomas Hart Benton, painted by the artist in 1970
Historical ArticleA 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 Times
February 24, 1989

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
LocationSC58
Local SubjectPaintings
Benton, Thomas Hart (Artist)
Digital FormatJPEG
Barcode20000699
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
RightsReproduction (printing, downloading, or copying) of images from Kansas City Public Library requires permission and payment for the following uses, whether digital or print: publication; reproduction of multiple copies; personal, non-educational purposes; and advertising or commercial purposes. Please order prints or digital files and pay use fees through this website. All images must be properly credited to: "Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri." Images and texts may be reproduced without prior permission only for purposes of temporary, private study, scholarship, or research. Those using these images and texts assume all responsibility for questions of copyright and privacy that may arise.
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