Media File
Thomas Hart Benton
Date: American painter, illustrator, and lithographer, 1889–1975
School: regionalist
Biography: Thomas Hart Benton was an American regionalist painter. Born into a political family, Benton received support for his artistic ambitions from his mother. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before heading to the Académie Julian in Paris, where he met modernist painters Diego Rivera and Stanton Macdonald-Wright. In 1913, when he settled in New York, Benton was making colorful, modern paintings inspired by Macdonald-Wright's movement, Synchromism. During World War I Benton served in Norfolk, Virginia, where he was tasked with drawing images of daily life and working with the camouflage unit—work that he said profoundly influenced his mature style. In the 1920s he turned away from modern abstraction and found his subjects in daily life, in New York and in the Midwest where he was raised. Benton developed a singular style, defining his figures with undulating lines and bright colors. His style translated effectively into mural painting and he would become a master muralist.