Thomas Hart Benton and Kansas City - Henry Adams
Thomas Hart Benton’s national notoriety – as one of the most visible and controversial American painters of the 1930s – has overshadowed his time as a Kansas City resident.
Benton scholar Henry Adams, author of the new book Thomas Hart Benton: Discoveries and Interpretations, reveals an intriguingly different artist than the one known to historians. Benton had a complex involvement in the city’s great social and cultural renaissance, which included the establishment of a symphony, university, and great art museum. Often at odds with the staff of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, he drew most of his support from Jewish patrons who were largely excluded from the museum’s activities. His father had connections to Tom Pendergast, but some of Benton’s closest friends were involved in the overthrow of the Boss’ political machine.