Lot 105

Thomas Hart Benton "Man Cranking a Pulley" Graphite (ca. 1940s)

Estimate: $300 - $500
Sold for

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$5,000 $250
$10,000 $500
$20,000 $1,000
$50,000 $2,500
$75,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

Thomas Hart Benton

(Missouri, 1889-1975)

Man Cranking a Pulley, circa early 1940s

Graphite on paper

7 1/4" x 5"


Benton scholar Dr. Henry Adams: "In 1944, through his dealer Reeves Lowenthal, Benton obtained a commission to sketch troop ships being constructed in Pittsburgh and to then float on one of them down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, to New Orleans where it joined the fleet. Somewhat irreverently, Benton ended his reportage with a series of sketches of sailors and young women, socializing in the seedy dives of Bourbon Street.


"This drawing may well have been made as part of this troop ship commission. In any case, it seems to date from the early 1940s. While the sketch was evidently made quickly, Benton’s handling of the anatomy of the figure is far more accomplished, for example, than the stick figures one finds in his Sparrow’s Point steel mill drawings of 1930."


Matted to 20" x 16".


Good condition, noting very slight foxing and mild smudging.

Overall Dimensions
Height: 20.00 in
Width: 16.00 in
Depth: 0.50 in

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Acquired by Vincent and Leah Campanella directly from Thomas and Rita Benton over the course of their 25 year friendship. A portion of the collection was given to the Campanellas by Rita in 1975 as compensation for Vincent completing "The Sources of Country Music," the mural left unfinished when Tom passed away in 1975. Vincent Campanella was later prominently featured in the Ken Burns documentary Thomas Hart Benton (1988). In 2001, the Campanella family sold the collection to the current owner, a private Kansas City collector.

Benton scholar and author, Dr. Henry Adams, has authenticated the entire collection in person. You can find his essay documenting the 25 year tumultuous friendship of Vincent and Thomas and the origins of the collection at Circle-Auction.com. A copy of his essay will be provided to all winning bidders.