Painting by Thomas Hart Benton headlines KC Auction & Appraisal's online-only auction ending Dec. 12 A painting by the renowned Missouri-born artist Thomas Hart Benton (Am., 1889-1975) is the expected headliner in an online-only auction being held by KC Auction & Appraisal Company, ending Dec. 12th.
News-Antique.com - Nov 27,2016 - KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A painting by the renowned Missouri-born artist Thomas Hart Benton (Am., 1889-1975) is the expected headliner in an online-only auction being held by KC Auction & Appraisal Company, based in Kansas City. The auction is already up and online and will end on Monday, December 12th, at 7 pm Central time. Bidders can log on now, at www.kcauctioncompany.com.
The painting comes with an impeccable, rock-solid provenance. The young man depicted in the foreground is Randall Jessee, who happens to be the consignor. The Jessees were neighbors of the Bentons for a few years and the painting was done during that time, around 1967-1968. It’s a diminutive work – 8 ½ inches by 6 ½ inches, less the frame – and it is artist-signed lower left.
“While the Thomas Hart Benton painting is the undisputed star of this auction, also being offered are estate items from the Claridge Court Retirement Community in Prairie Village, Kansas, plus additions,” said Jason Roske, the owner of KC Auction & Appraisal Company. “There is also a drawing by Benton that’s certain to attract attention. Overall, it’s a packed and eclectic auction.”
Items will range from fine jewelry pieces to a Tiffany Studios perpetual calendar to a set of four Charles Eames Eiffel Tower chairs to a circa 1780 William & Mary chest-on-stand to a Huntley & Palmer figural biscuit tin to a palace-size Ferahan Oriental rug. All 275 or so lots will be sold without reserve and carry starting bids of just $1 each – even the Benton painting and drawing.
More on the painting: it has a Maryland frame shop label on the reverse, because the Jessees moved to Maryland shortly afterward. The woman on the dock is Rita Benton, Thomas’s wife, and the young man is Randall Jessee’s brother. The truck near the barn was Randall’s at the time. The painting has been in the Jessee family since it was done and has never been offered for sale.
The drawing depicts one of the luaus the Jessees held in their yard each year. Benton drew the piece, taking liberties with reality: the singer at the microphone is Randall, Sr. (the consignor’s father), but instead of legs and feet Benton drew dogs’ legs and feet. The stand-up bass player, Dave Ruf (of The Westport Kids), was given breasts. Benton signed the whimsical drawing.
Thomas Hart Benton was born in Neosho, Missouri. His father, Colonel Maecenas Benton, was a lawyer and four-term U.S. Congressman who wanted his son to go into politics, but Thomas desired a career in art. As a teenager, he was a cartoonist for the Joplin American newspaper in Joplin. Then he enrolled at The School of The Art Institute in Chicago and later the Academie Julian in Paris, in 1909. Benton was one of the driving forces of the Regionalist art movement.
In 1977, Benton’s Victorian residence and carriage house studio in Kansas City was designated by the state as the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio