The Kansas City Public Library unites Missouri’s most renowned author and its most prominent artist with the exhibit Mark Twain & Tom Benton: Pictures, Prose, and Song on display from September 3 – October 30, 2011, in the Guldner Gallery at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
This exhibit features several original Benton illustrations for a limited edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, including classic scenes (such as the white-washing con and the courting of Becky Thatcher) that capture the spontaneity, humor, and fun in Twain’s prose. Also featured are original illustrations Benton drew for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Twain’s autobiographical Life on the Mississippi – all of them among Missouri’s greatest artistic treasures.
Twain and Benton were kindred spirits who found inspiration in Missouri’s people, places, and practices. Both represented ordinary people and found beauty in everyday life. Their creative work not only epitomized Missouri’s cultural character, but also introduced the Show-Me State to a worldwide audience.
Born Samuel Clemens (in the “almost invisible village” of Florida, Missouri), Mark Twain (1835 – 1910) worked on steam boats and in newspapers before publishing his first novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. His many other books – including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Life on the Mississippi – and acclaimed wit established him as one of the great American writers, while some accounts (like that of Ernest Hemingway) cite him as the source of American literature.
Benton (1889 – 1975) was a renowned muralist whose major works include murals for the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum in Independence, and the Joplin City Hall. He was named after his great-great-uncle, United States Sen. Thomas Hart Benton (1782 – 1858).
This exhibit is on loan from the State Historical Society of Missouri. Financial assistance for this project has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. This exhibit is part of The Big Read.
Admission to the exhibit is free.