Thomas Hart Benton catapulted to national fame in 1934, when his self-portrait was featured on the cover of “Time” magazine. Like his friend Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton is well-known for his midwestern scenes, but in fact he spent nearly every summer of his life on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts–and for three summers his most famous student, Jackson Pollock, stayed on the Vineyard with him as well. It was there that Benton began making paintings of “American characters, and it was through these portraits that Benton transformed himself from a “modernist” to the leader of the Regionalist movement. We will take a close look at the paintings Benton made on Martha’s Vineyard –including the “New England Editor” now on view in Springfield–and trace Benton’s evolution from an obscure struggling artist to the most famous American painter of the 1930s.
Free with museum admission!
About the presenter
Henry Adams is the Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University. His writing on American Art has been published in The Burlington Magazine, The Art Bulletin, Art in America, American Art Review, Smithsonian Magazine, and Art and Antiques. Among his numerous books are Tom and Jack: The Intertwined Lives of Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock, and Eakins Revealed, which the painter Andrew Wyeth described as “without question the most astonishing biography I have ever read on an artist.”