Thomas Hart Benton (American, Neosho, Missouri 1889–1975 Kansas City, Missouri)
Oil on Masonite
15 1/4 × 23 5/8 in. (38.7 × 60 cm)
Gift of AXA Equitable, 2016
Not on view
This study captures the forms, color contrasts, and highlights of the finished panel and sets the outlines for the aluminum-leaf frame moldings that split the scenes. In the panels, Benton made slight adjustments and connected the figures in interesting ways. Here, for example, the four figures riding the subway are roughly outlined, but in the mural they physically connect in a provocative manner–a hand grazes a knee, shoulders are jammed together.
the artist (1930–d. 1975); Thomas Hart and Rita P. Benson Testamentary Trust, Kansas City, Mo. (1975–87; sold in 1987 to Equitable); The Equitable Life Insurance Company of the United States (now AXA), New York (1987–2016; their gift to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Thomas Hart Benton’s 'America Today' Mural Rediscovered," September 30, 2014–April 19, 2015, no catalogue (lent by AXA, New York; see MMA Bulletin 72 Winter 2015).
Randall R. Griffey and Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser in "Thomas Hart Benton's 'America Today'." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 72 (Winter 2015), pp. 11, 13–14, fig. 12 (color).