DescriptionThomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975)
Main Street, USA, 1926
Oil on board
11-1/4 x 8-3/4 inches (28.6 x 22.2 cm)
Signed upper right: Benton
Titled on the reverse: Main Street, USA
Sotheby's, New York, May 24, 1990, lot 216;
Private collection, Missouri.
Borger, Texas was the subject of Thomas Hart Benton's first major painting of the American scene, Boomtown, circa 1927-28, now in the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York. In January 1926, the Dixon Creek Oil and Refinery Company hit a gusher, which produced five thousand barrels of oil a day. Shortly afterwards a real estate promoter from Missouri, Ace Borger, created a town on two hundred and forty acres that he had purchased just to the west of this spots. Within ninety days, the population had sprouted from zero to thirty thousand. This oil study is surely an earlier rendition of Borger, and depicts the hastily constructed storefronts on the town's main street, which are also featured in the Rochester painting. Benton first visited Borger in late spring of 1926, after making a sketching trip through the Ozarks, and appears to have visited it again in 1928, during a long cross-country sketching trip. This painting may well have been made just after the 1926 visit, although the exact chronology of Benton's renditions of Borger has yet to be fully worked out.
We are grateful to Dr. Henry Adams for his endorsement of the present work as an autograph painting by Benton on the basis of photographs, and for his kind assistance in providing the catalogue note.
There appears to be minor frame wear, not visible when framed; under UV exam, there apepars to be no previous restoration. Framed Dimensions 17.5 X 15 X 1.25 Inches
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