Lot 79

Thomas Hart Benton "Steel Mill Study for Blast Furnace" Graphite (1930)

Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Sold for

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$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)

Steel Mill at Sparrow’s Point (Study for "Blast Furnace"), 1930

Graphite on paper

13 1/4" x 8 1/4" (sight)


Benton scholar Dr. Henry Adams explained the backstory of this image: "Benton used his sketches from Sparrow’s Point to create the Steel panel of his America Today mural. This composition, however, does not appear in the mural. Instead, Benton used it somewhat later for the illustration Blast Furnace, which he produced for Leo Huberman’s book We, the People, a socially-oriented history of the United States published in 1932. A watercolor study of a similar design, which is also closely related to the Huberman illustration, is in the Benton Trust."


Signed to the bottom right, and inscribed "Study for New School," indicating Benton's original intention to use the sketch for America Today, the mural masterpiece he created for the New School for Social Research. Housed in a glazed frame measuring 22" x 16 1/2".


Good condition, noting rippling to the sheet as framed, with the right edge of the sheet slipped through the mat window near the bottom.

Overall Dimensions
Height: 22.00 in
Width: 16.50 in
Depth: 1.50 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.