Thomas Hart Benton American

Not on view

This sketch is one of dozens of drawings that Benton used to compose his mural America Today, also in the Museum’s collection (2012.478a–j). Benton explored the arrangement of clamoring hands, a coffeepot, and a cup, forms that appear in the narrow overdoor panel. In the panel, Benton’s depiction of hands suggests a breadline in the early years of the Great Depression. His inclusion of this subject ensured that the optimism that pervades America Today gives way to somber desperation.

Hands, Thomas Hart Benton (American, Neosho, Missouri 1889–1975 Kansas City, Missouri), Graphite on paper

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