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Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889–1975)
LOT ID: 54214
Wine for Rita, 1943

Oil, on tin
7.25 х 5.38 in. (18.42 x 13.67 cm.)
Signed, and dated lower right
Lot description
Thomas Hart Benton is able to take a simple still-life and empower it. Wine for Rita allows Benton’s signature style of painting to truly flourish. He is able to individualize each flower petal within a circumscribed pattern to seal each element within its own borders. The richness of the scene is almost overwhelming; the surreal quality of each brushstroke creates a universal harmony within the frame. Power is harnessed through delicacy; this vibrant still-life becomes a symbol of American individualism. Each flower stands evocatively at attention, waiting, almost asking, to be painted by the skillful hand of Benton.

Thomas Hart Benton was born on April 15, 1889 in Neosho, Missouri. He spent most of childhood in boarding schools before landing his first job as a cartoonist for the Joplin American newspaper in Missouri. Benton went on to study at the Art institute of Chicago before spending time in Paris and New York City. He eventually settled in Kansas City working as an instructor of drawing and painting at the Kansas City Art Institute. Benton was an integral part of the Regionalist movement and is well known for his depictions of provincial life throughout the United States, most notably daily scenes of Midwestern life. Benton hangs in almost every major museum in the US and is truly an American Master. Benton died January 19, 1975 in his art studio in Missouri.
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