SOME OF THE sympathy for the Negro and his woes that eventually led to the downfall of the artist’s famous grandfather, the first Senator from Missouri (who, a slaveholder himself, finally came to abhor the whole institution of slavery), can be traced in much of Thomas Hart Benton’s work. Lonesome Road evokes the conscience-shaking specter of the degrading poverty of whole sections of our country.
The utter forlornness of this scene-the dejected the equally despondent little mule with its absurd haltar, and the poc of a general store-is emphasized by the bleak hills that seem to shut out a better world. This is, indeed, one of the lonesomest roads in art.
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Thomas Benton was born at Neosho, Missouri, in the heart of the Middle
West, fifty years ago, and nothing he has ever been to, including
five years of Paris just before the World War, has ever his fidelity to
American subject matter. Benton’s exhaustive study of the masters of the past,
far from injecting academic dead-letter into his work, has swung him into the