This self-portrait of Thomas
Hart Benton is in the State Historical Society's art collection.
State Historical Society of Missouri
Thomas Hart Benton Remembered
By LYMAN FIELD*
Tom Benton's life span encompassed one-tenth of the last century,
three-fourths of this one: 1889 to 1975—over 85 years. He lived and
worked with great vigor and purpose and amazing grace right up to the
very end, with his hands, his mind and his heart.
There was a lot of Ulysses in Tom Benton, both as a solitary
wanderer and with companions; but for all his wonderful travels in
Italy, France, far away islands, Mexico, most of the United States, the
oceans, the rivers and streams, the great prairies and mountains of the
American west—it was his home, his hearth, his table and his studio,
both in Missouri and Martha's Vineyard, and his beloved Rita, which
held the deepest meanings for him.
He was as at home with the writings of St. Augustine, Thomas
Aquinas and the Arabian Nights, as he was with the works, in the
♦Lyman Field, a partner in the Kansas City law firm of Field, Gentry, Benjamin &
Robertson, P.C. and a long-time friend of Thomas Hart Benton, presented this paper at
the Society's annual meeting luncheon on October 7, 1989.