Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975)
Study for Keith Farm, Chilmark
Signed "Benton" l.r., a sketch on the reverse, a note from Rita Benton, dated
November 10, 1961, discussing the work is affixed to the reverse.
Pencil on paper, sight size 10 1/2 x 15 in. (26.6 x 38.1 cm),framed.
Condition: Scattered staining, toning, small puncture u.r.
Provenance: From the artist to family, Estate of Lucile Keith, Chilmark, Massachusetts.
N.B. This work was a study for Benton's 1951 oil on canvas Martha's Vineyard landscape Keith's Farm. Benton often produced preliminary drawings for his oil paintings. These works, 'progressing from direct on-the-spot sketches to carefully organized compositions,' offer insights into his artistic process and reveal the intricacies of his paintings.(1)
Benton first visited Martha's Vineyard in the 1920s, and by the 1950s he set up a studio in a converted barn. Polly Burroughs relays Benton's sentiments, 'I developed a strong attachment to the Vineyard countryside by living in it summer after summer and of course painted my first Americanist pictures here – it was the only place I ever found peace.'(2) This view is of Middle Road in Chilmark, just up the hill above Beetlebung Corner at the Keith's beef cattle farm.(3) (1) Henry Adams. Thomas Hart Benton: Drawing from Life (New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1990) 16. (2) Polly Burroughs. Thomas Hart Benton, a Portrait (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1981) 178. (3) Ibid, 179.
The sheet measures 13 1/4 x 16 3/4 in.