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Oral history interview with Thomas Hart Benton, 1973 July 23-24

Benton, Thomas Hart, 1889-1975

Muralist, Painter


Collection Information

Size: 68 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 46 min.

Summary: Interview of Thomas Hart Benton conducted 1973 July 23-24, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art. Benton speaks of his childhood in Missouri and Washington, D.C., working as a newspaper cartoonist, and classes at the Chicago Art Institute (1907-1908) and the Academie Julian in Paris (1908). He discusses the New York art world, painting scenes for silent movies, the "Stieglitz Society," the synchromist and regionalist movements, John Weichsel and the People's Art Guild, teaching at the Art Students League and the Kansas City Art Institute, murals and mural techniques, lithographic illustrations, drawings, and World War II propaganda posters. He recalls Thomas Craven, Rex Ingram, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Jackson Pollock, Alma Reed, Boardman Robinson, and others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) was a painter and mural painter.


These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

Language Note

English .


Funding for this interview was provided by the Wyeth Endowment for American Art.

How to Use This Collection

ACCESS RESTRICTED; written permission required.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Thomas Hart Benton, 1973 July 23-24. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.