If one were to say, “illustrator of Americana,” most of us would respond “Norman Rockwell.” But if that person were to utter, “regionalist illustrator of Americana,” we would pause a moment, eliminate Rockwell, and after a beat say, “Thomas Hart Benton.”
And now a new book about him deepens our interest:
“A self-taught and frequently performing musician who invented a harmonica tablature notation system, Thomas Hart Benton was also a collector, cataloguer, transcriber, and distributor of popular music. In Thomas Hart Benton and the American Sound, Leo Mazow shows that the artist’s musical imagery was part of a larger belief in the capacity of sound to register and convey meaning. In Benton’s pictorial universe, it is through sound that stories are told, opinions are voiced, experiences are preserved, and history is recorded.”
The wizard bought the book for the Academy, of course.
Thomas Hart Benton was definitely our brand of crazy.
– Indiana Beagle
This is the guy who wrote the song that Casey Welch tuned into an online video for her company 2 rabbit hole pages back.