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    Description

    Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975)
    Montana Cowtown Facade, 1965
    Ink, sepia wash, and pencil on paper
    5 x 8-1/4 inches (12.7 x 21.0 cm) (image)
    Signed and dated lower right: Benton '65
    Titled lower right: Montana Cowtown Facade

    PROVENANCE:
    Louis Newman Galleries, Beverly Hills, California;
    Private collection, Studio City, California, acquired from the above, 1993;
    By descent to the present owner.

    EXHIBITED:
    Louis Newman Galleries, Beverly Hills, California, "The American Scene II: Works on Paper," February 11-25, 1993.

    Throughout his life, Thomas Hart Benton worked from life, and sought inspiration by traveling extensively throughout many regions of the United States. He held a lifelong fondness for the rough-and-tumble pockets of America, such as the cranky Ozark region of Missouri where he grew up, because they retained a kind of unaffected authenticity-they were not trying to be something they weren't. Of course, his attraction to rural subject matter, taken at face value alone, earned him detractors who quickly labeled him anti-modern, if not reactionary, even though this was far from the case. Benton was not only an ardent Leftist and progressive, but he was also part of one of America's earliest Modernist movements-Synchromism-and teacher of none other than the pre-eminent Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock.

    Benton's paintings, drawings and prints, including this pencil, ink and wash drawing of storefronts in small-town Montana, bear hallmarks of his study of Modernist experiments. Without question, the jostle of buildings is a study in line, plane and volume, with geometries falling in and out of shadow like a Synthetic Cubist composition. A wonderful detail is the floating roof on the far left. Benton felt no need to draw in the entire building. The pure parallelogram defines the edge of the design.

    We are grateful to Henry Adams for confirming the attribution to Benton on the basis of high resolution photographs.




    Condition Report*: Sheet measures 11 x 14.875 inches and hinged along top corners verso; light overall paper discoloration with matburn; faint handling creases. Framed under glass.
    Framed Dimensions 18 X 20.5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2019
    1st Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 607

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