BY THOMAS BENTON
BENTON HAS OFTEN been accused of lack offeeling. It is true that in his great
murals sympathy is sometimes submerged by compositional brilliancy and a
reporter’s instinct, but his lithographs testify to his greatheartedness and his
understanding of the underprivileged.
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Edge of Town and Lonesome Road reﬂect the hopelessness of barren lives:
Sunday Morning strikes a different note, for at least one day a week a thin wedge of hope enters into these lives.
The Southern Negro, though naturally optimistic and gay, gets bogged down in the oppres-
sive conditions of daily existence. The little rural church is the answer for the
old folk and for some of the younger ones.
Sunday Morning is less bleak, less unrelieved than most of Benton’s litho-
graphs. Light and shade are distributed with less dramatic contrast than usual,
and the blacks are not so emphatic.
For the ﬁrst time, the artist has modiﬁed the slashing conciseness of his
effects by recourse to detail, but without sacriﬁcing power and impressiveness.