Thomas Hart Benton was born in Neosho, Missouri, into family of politicians. His mother encouraged his art, but his father was determined that Thomas become a lawyer or politician. He eventually studied art in Paris, France.
Thomas Hart Benton painted America. For more than seventy years he painted its cities and small towns, its farms and backwoods. He painted its people, too: faith healers and lovers, politicians and soda jerks, farmers and movie stars.
Thomas Hart Benton was commissioned to paint a mural depicting the social history of Missouri. Located in the Missouri state capitol, the honest and sometimes dark depictions of Missouri’s history resulted in some controversy.