Thomas Hart Benton (1889 - 1975)
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An American painter and muralist, Thomas Hart Benton was at the forefront of the Regionalist art movement. Benton was born in Neosho, Missouri, but spent his childhood going back and forth between Washington D.C. and Missouri. As a teenager, Benton illustrated for the Joplin American newspaper. In 1907, Benton attended the Art Institute of Chicago and, in 1909, moved to Paris to continue his art studies at the Academie Julian. His work and artistic style was highly affected after he served in the U.S. Navy as a documentarian, during World War I. In the early 1920s, Benton began representational work referred to as Regionalism. Benton's Regionalist works, such as his America Today murals at the New School for Social Research also show Spanish artist El Greco's influence on Benton's style. After breaking through the mainstream in 1932, Benton was featured on one of the first color covers of Time magazine. He taught at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Art Students League of New York.