Thomas Hart Benton, 1889 – 1975. Born in Missouri, Benton was an important artist of the American Scene Movement. Famous for his murals, paintings, and lithographic works. They captured the lives of simple people in rural America. One of his most famous murals is in the Truman Memorial Library in Independence. Benton declared, “No American art can come to those who do not live an American life, who do not have an American psychology, and who cannot find in America justification of their lives”.
He worked for the Joplin American in Missouri as a cartoonist. Then studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, resided in Paris, NYC, and finally Kansas City. He instructed at the Kansas City Art Institute where he taught his most famous pupil, Jackson Pollock. Benton traveled extensively with his congressman father, Col. M.E. Benton. He loved America, immortalizing its working-class people with his art. President Harry Truman said Benton was “the best damned painter in America.”