KANSAS CITY, Mo.---The friendly waiting area in the stable-studio of the Thomas Hart Benton Home includes a black and white photo of the artist working on a painting of a river rolling by a limestone bluff in his beloved Ozarks. Benton loved rivers.
He devoted a chapter of his autobiography "An Artist in America" (first published in 1937) to rivers. He wrote:
"...There is over these summer night waters and on the shadowed lands that border them an ineffable peace, an immense quiet, which puts all ambitious effort back in its futile place and makes of a simple drift of sense and feeling the ultimate and proper end of life..."
In his later years Benton painted from a more personal viewpoint.
Benton died in 1975 while working on "The Sources of Country Music," a six-foot by 10-foot mural that was commissioned by the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. He was 85 years old.
Benton grew up listening to country music around the Ozarks......