Art/ Collection/ Art Object

July Hay

Artist:
Thomas Hart Benton (American, Neosho, Missouri 1889–1975 Kansas City, Missouri)
Date:
1943
Medium:
Egg tempera, methyl cellulose, and oil on Masonite
Dimensions:
38 × 26 7/8 in. (96.5 × 68.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
George A. Hearn Fund, 1943
Accession Number:
43.159.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 909
Throughout the 1930s and into the 1940s, Benton, who left New York in 1935 and settled in Kansas City, Missouri, became closely associated with a movement known as Regionalism, which exalted rural America and tended to disregard contemporary abstract art. Showing two harvesters using old-fashioned scythes to harvest a bumper crop, the painting exhibits the swirling integration of the figure and environment for which the artist is best-known. Benton’s harvesting subject and intense attention to detail recall works by the 16th-century Flemish painter Jan Brueghel, even as it resonated with the sentiment popular throughout World War II (U.S. involvement from 1941 to 1945) that the nation’s farmers were warriors on the home front.
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]
[Associated American Artists Galleries, New York, 1943; sold to MMA]

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Art," November 23, 1943–January 4, 1944, no. 4.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Three Centuries of American Painting," April 9–October 17, 1965, unnum. checklist.

New York. Marlborough-Gerson Gallery. "The New York Painter, A Century of Teaching: Morse to Hofmann," September 27–October 14, 1967, unnumbered cat. (p. 77).

Bronx County Courthouse. "Paintings from the Metropolitan, Pinturas del Metropolitano," May 12–June 13, 1971, no. 12.

San Juan. El Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. "Arte del Siglo Veinte: EE.UU. del Museum Metropolitano de Arte," April 19–May 31, 1974, no. 11.

Katonah, N. Y. The Katonah Gallery. "American Painting 1900–1976. I. The Beginning of Modernism 1900–1934," November 1, 1975–January 4, 1976, no. 2.

Moscow. State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. "Representations of America," December 15, 1977–February 15, 1978, no catalogue.

Leningrad. State Hermitage Museum. "Representations of America," March 15–May 15, 1978, no catalogue.

Minsk, Belarus. Palace of Art. "Representations of America," June 15–August 15, 1978, no catalogue.

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Juliana Force's Selections for The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 1–May 11, 1980, no catalogue.

Jacksonville, Fla. Jacksonville Art Museum. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 9–April 21, 1985, unnum. cat. (p. 105).

Oklahoma City. Oklahoma Museum of Art. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 5–June 30, 1985, unnum. cat.

New York. National Academy of Design. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," July 16–September 1, 1985, unnum. cat.

Evanston, Ill. Terra Museum of American Art. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 15–November 10, 1985, unnum. cat.

Little Rock. Arkansas Arts Center. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 12, 1985–January 19, 1986, unnum. cat.

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 9–March 30, 1986, unnum. cat.

St. Paul. Minnesota Museum of Art. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 20–June 8, 1986, unnum. cat.

Turin. Galleria Lingotto. "Arte Americana, 1930–1970," January 11–March 31, 1992, unnumbered cat. (p. 53).

Berlin. Deutsches Historisches Museum. "Kunst und Propaganda: Im Streit der Nationen 1930–1945," January 26–April 29, 2007, no. US/20.

Des Moines Art Center. "After Many Springs: Regionalism, Modernism and the Midwest," January 30–May 17, 2009, unnumbered cat. (pl. 13).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Thomas Hart Benton’s 'America Today' Mural Rediscovered," September 30, 2014–April 19, 2015, no catalogue (see MMA Bulletin 72, Winter 2015).

Lloyd Goodrich in New Art in America: Fifty Painters of the 20th Century. Ed. John I. H. Baur. Greenwich, Conn., 1957, ill. p. 133 (color).

Henry Geldzahler. American Painting in the Twentieth Century. New York, 1965, p. 93, ill.

Lowery Stokes Sims. The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Jacksonville Art Museum. New York, 1984, pp. 10, 92, 104–5, ill.

Elizabeth Broun. "Thomas Hart Benton: A Politician in Art." Smithsonian Studies in American Art 1 (Spring 1987), pp. 70, 73, fig. 7 (image reversed).

Henry Adams. Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original. Exh. cat., Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo. New York, 1989, pp. 316, 355, ill. p. 318 (color).

Debra Bricker Balken. After Many Springs: Regionalism, Modernism, and the Midwest. Exh. cat., Des Moines Art Center. Des Moines, 2009, p. 104, colorpl. 13.



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