Lot 12

Thomas Hart Benton "Study for Civil War, Missouri Mural" Graphite (1935)

Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
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)

Study for Civil War Scene of the Missouri Mural, 1935

Graphite on paper

8 1/4" x 10"


Benton scholar Dr. Henry Adams: "This is an early compositional study for the Civil War scene in Bentons’ Missouri mural, located just to the right of the rendering of his father delivering a political address. It contains a combination of episodes: a raid on a farmhouse on the left; a lynching in the center; and a train robbery on the right. Benton closely followed this sketch in the final painting, although he omitted the figures robbing the train, no doubt because he decided to place a rendering of Jessie James robbing a train just to the right and didn’t want to repeat the same subject."


Signed and dated to the lower right, and notated: "One of the first studies for Mo. Mural…” The study was executed on the letterhead of Springfield attorney Dan M. Nee. To the side opposite the mural study is a figural sketch of a man harvesting wheat with a scythe. Housed in a glazed gold-leaf frame measuring 16 1/2" x 18".


Good condition. There are angled creases in the bottom left and top right corners, and a vertical crease to the right of the center.

Overall Dimensions
Height: 16.50 in
Width: 18.00 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.