Art Historian Joan Stack Explores Influences on Thomas Hart Benton Artworks

All Library locations will be closed on Monday, July 4, for Independence Day.

For Immediate Release:
September 1, 2011
Contact: Paul Smith
Art Historian Joan Stack Explores Influences on Thomas Hart Benton Artworks

The Kansas City Public Library hosts art historian Joan Stack for a presentation called Thomas Hart Benton on Tom Sawyer: Re-envisioning Twain in the 20th Century on Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 2 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. 

Already an established artist of worldwide fame, Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton was a natural choice for the Limited Editions Club's illustrated version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Likewise, the boy from Mark Twain's most accessible novel was a perfect subject for Benton, whose influence on the Regionalist movement emphasized a need for works that conveyed a uniquely American character. But Tom Sawyer presented a challenge as the artist strained to translate the humor and ease of the vernacular prose into a modern visual style. These competing goals prompted Benton to adopt a deceptively simple, gestural style for his illustrations that earned praise from readers as well as critical accolades.

Joan Stack is the curator of Art Collections for The State Historical Society of Missouri, which is home to the exhibit Mark Twain and Tom Benton: Pictures, Prose, and Song - on display in the Guldner Gallery at the Central Library from September 3 - October 30, 2011.

This event is a part of The Missouri Valley Speaker Series as well as The Big Read celebration of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, coordinated by the Kansas City Public Library and Kansas City Ballet.

Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP onlineor call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. For more information about The Big Read in Kansas City, visit

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