Lot 64

Thomas Hart Benton "Study of Football Players" Graphite (1968-71)

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)

Study of Football Players, 1968-71

Graphite on paper

6 1/2" x 10 3/4"


Benton scholar Dr. Henry Adams: "When he attended high school at the Western Military Academy in 1906, Benton excelled in football, and he briefly played semi-professional football when he lived in Chicago. After letting this interest lapse for decades, Benton revived it in 1968, at the instigation of his friend Dutton Brookfield, who was chairman of the Jackson County Sports Complex. In 1968 Benton began attending football games in Kansas City, and by the end of the following season, he had talked his way into having a position on the team bench, where he sat with the permission of coach Hank Stram. There he sketched during games, practice sessions, and pre-game warm-ups, despite the concern of some officials that he might be injured if a player ran out of bounds.


"The hasty execution of many of Benton’s football drawings, suggests that he made many of them right on the field. This drawing is related to Benton’s painting Forward Pass [Baigell 227] of 1971, featuring the Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback, Len Dawson, but shows an alternative conception. Rather than focusing on a quarterback throwing the ball, he focuses on the moment just afterward, when a player is catching the ball."


Matted to 16" x 20".


Good condition, noting a bit of toning to the right half of the image, and a few slight scrapes scattered across the sheet.

Overall Dimensions
Height: 16.00 in
Width: 20.00 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.