Thomas Hart BentonJuly 22, 2013

Thomas Hart Benton is one of my favorite American painters. His oils have a very organic almost cartoony quality that is very rhythmic. When I found out that I could see some of his original murals at Indiana University, I took a trip there.  There is quite a bit of his artwork there. Inside the Auditorium are two very large murals that flank each other and two smaller works at the end. In Woodburn Hall, inside the lecture hall there are another two murals. Apparently there is even more work of his in the cinema – but there was a class going on – so I was unable to view those. I guess I will just have to make another trip there some day. My favorite one was inside the Woodburn lecture hall and titled, “Parks, the Circus, the Klan, the Press”, and was originally painted for the ”Century of Progress” exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. It was placed in Woodburn Hall in 1941. This is about Indiana’s history and the inclusion of the Ku Klux Klan in this panel was quite controversial at the time. I like the inclusion of the fire fighters and circus performers. I have attached a photo of it below along with the mural that flanks it in the Woodburn lecture hall. It is free to go in and view these amazing works and I would urge you to do that.