Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975)

Born in Neosho, Missouri, in 1889, Thomas Hart Benton began his art education at age sixteen in the Art Institute of Chicago and at age nineteen studied in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Returning to America to become a "child controversy," Benton enjoyed one of the most dramatic and interesting careers in American art.


Deeply moved by the attack on Pearl Harbor, shortly thereafter he completed "The Year of Peril," a series of grim and powerful war paintings financed by Abbott Laboratories. In 1943 he collaborated with Georges Schreiber in producing the Abbott Collection of Submarine Paintings, a project largely executed aboard the American submarine Dorado, which was later lost in action with all hands.


His awards included the Jennie Sesnan Medal of the New York Architectural League and Wanamaker's Purchase Prize. Benton is represented in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Sheldon Swope Art Gallery, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, City Art Museum of St. Louis, Museum of Modern Art, California Palace of the Legion of Honor and others. His murals are in the Missouri State Capitol, Indiana University, Whitney Museum of American Art and the New School for Social Research.


This exhibit contains all 25 of the works by Thomas Hart Benton in the Navy Art Collection