July Hay

Thomas Hart Benton (American, Neosho, Missouri 1889–1975 Kansas City, Missouri)

Egg tempera, methyl cellulose, and oil on Masonite
38 × 26 7/8 in. (96.5 × 68.3 cm)
Credit Line:
George A. Hearn Fund, 1943
Accession Number:
  • Description

    As one of America's foremost Regionalist painters, Benton celebrated the bounty of the land and heroicized ordinary workers and citizens going about their daily tasks. Painted during World War II, July Hay is a nostalgic look back to simpler, more peaceful times. While the Missouri-born artist often depicted the rural Midwest, this scene is set on Martha's Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts where he summered. The composition's structure as well as the materials, technique, and precision reflect Benton's early study of El Greco, fifteenth-century Flemish art, and Old Master painting.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): Benton '43; signed, dated, and inscribed (verso): 'JULY HAY'/ July 1943/ Benton [Artist's description of media on verso]

  • Exhibition History

    After Many Springs: Art in the Midwest in the 1930's, Des Moines Art Center.
    Des Moines, Iowa, January 30- May 17, 2009, pg. 109, cat. no. 13.

    Berlin, Germany: Deutsches Historisches Museum, January 26-April 29, 2007, Art and Propaganda. pp. 406-407, no.US/20, discussed and illustrated in color.

    Torino, Italy. Lingotto: ¦American Art 1930-1970¦. January 8-March 31, 1992. Cat. #1948, p.52.

    Minnesota Museum of Art, Saint Paul. April 20 - June 8, 1986, p. 105 (ill.), p. 104 (discussion).

    Moscow, Pushkin Museum, December 15 - February 15, 1978; Leningrad, Hermitage Museum, March 15 - May 15, 1978; Minsk, Palace of Art, June 15 - August 15, 1978. Representations of America.

    San Juan. The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. Twentieth Century Art: U.S.A. from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (April 19 - June 2), 1974, no. 11, p. 31 (ill.), p. 32 (discussed).

    New York. Marlborough-Gerson Gallery. The New York painter; a century of teaching: Morse to Hofmann, benefit exhibition for the New York University Art Collection, Sept. 27-Oct. 14, 1967, cat. unnumbered, p. 77 (ill.); p. 82 (listed).

    M.M.A. Three centuries of American painting, 1965.

    M.M.A. 20th century painters; a special exhibition of oils, water colors and drawings selected from the collections of American art in the Metropolitan Museum, 1950, p. 3.

    Whitney Museum of American Art. New York. 1943-1944 annual exhibition of contemporary American art, Nov. 23, 1943-Jan. 4, 1944, cat. no. 4.

  • References

    Lingotto: American Art 1930-1970. Fabri Editori, 1992. Cat. #1948, p.52.

    M.M.A. American painting in the Twentieth century, by Henry Geldzahler [c 1965], p.93 (ill., discussed), p. 210 (short biography of the artist).

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History