Kansas City Times Photo
by Brooks Crummett
Thomas Hart Benton (left) received the
Society's Distinguished Service Award from
President T. Ballard Watters in 1969.
Thomas Hart Benton
Thomas Hart Benton, Missouri's most famous twentieth-century
artist, died at his home on January 19, 1975. A friend of the State
Historical Society for many years, Benton was born April 15, 1889,
in Neosho, Missouri. The son of a Missouri congressman, he was
named after his great uncle who, as a United States senator, was an
active political force for three decades.
While his father served as a Missouri congressman, Benton
studied at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and
visited the numerous galleries in the area. In 1906 he worked as
a cartoonist for the Joplin American. He left Joplin in 1907 to begin
study at the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1908 through 1911
Benton lived in Paris and studied for a time at the Academie Julian
and the Academie Collarossi. When he returned to the United
States he continued to immerse himself in the abstract theories so
prevalent in the early 1900 art world.