Lot 8

Thomas Hart Benton "Shoveling Coal, Sparrow's Point Steel Mill" Pen & Ink (1930)

Estimate: $2,000 - $4,000
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)

Shoveling Coal, Sparrow's Point Steel Mill, 1930

Ink and graphite on paper

8" x 11"


Benton scholar Dr. Henry Adams: "In 1930, when Benton began work on his mural of America Today for the New York School for Social Research, he complained to the director of the school, Alvin Johnson, that he had been unable to gain access to the interior of a steel mill. Johnson promptly used his social connections to arrange for him to make sketches in the Sparrow’s Point Steel Mill in Maryland, which is where this drawing must have been made. Stick figures of this type are particularly common in Bentons’ drawings of the early 1930s."


Signed and inscribed to the reverse: "Industry / 2 Open Hearth Furnace." Housed in a glazed frame measuring 19" x 22".


Good condition. Faint stains to the bottom right and to the top left corner. The sheet is creased horizontally along the top edge of the mat window. Some minor wrinkling from handling.

Overall Dimensions
Height: 19.00 in
Width: 22.00 in
Depth: 1.25 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.