Lot 74

Thomas Hart Benton "Study of Farm Tools" Graphite (ca. 1928)

Estimate: $1,000 - $2,000
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 of Farm Tools, circa 1928

Graphite on paper

12 3/4" x 10"


Benton scholar Dr. Henry Adams: "These studies of double-handled saws and a scythe were probably made in 1928, when Benton was passing through the farm country of the Smokey Mountains. The sketch of a saw seems to relate to the drawing Saw Filer—Ambers Mullens (Benton Trust), which appears to belong to the 1928 lumber camp series. The scythe brings to mind the “music master of the mountains” whom Benton described in his autobiography, An Artist in America:


“Cradling wheat is hard labor. A heavy wooden fork, the length of a scythe blade, is attached to the lower end of the scythe handling that it may catch the cut wheat and facilitate neat bundling. To swing one of these instruments in the mountain fields is a man’s job. To swing it all day and then go arduously to drilling a choir at night bespeaks not only love for music, but a deep well of energy besides. I spent several evenings with this old wheat-cradling musician.”


Matted to 20" x 16".


There is a small tear to the top left corner and an angled fold at the bottom left. A bit of wrinkling and rippling across the sheet.

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.