Lot 27

Thomas Hart Benton "Tetons Study for The Sheepherder" Oil & Gouache (1955-60)

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Thomas Hart Benton

(Missouri, 1889-1975)

Tetons Study for "The Sheepherder," 1955-60

Oil and gouache on board

12" x 21 1/2" (sight)


Benton scholar Dr. Henry Adams contextualized this work: "A study in grisaille for the mountain background of Bentons’ painting The Sheepherder [Baigell 134], a landscape of the Tetons. The final painting follows this study very closely. Benton had great difficulty learning to paint mountains, as the artist’s daughter Jessie has recalled:


“He took aside many years to paint mountains. He said it was the damnedest hardest thing he ever did, that mountains are impossible to paint. It took him years to finally paint a picture that he was satisfied with.  But you know that’s why he paid no attention to all those critics. He would get these things that he had to do, and while they were still quibbling over Persephone, he was off in Wyoming trying to paint the Tetons. Off in the woods in Jackson Hole driving around by himself for years.”


Housed in a glazed silver-leaf frame measuring 21" x 30".


Very good condition. Minor craquelure to the white highlight at the far left edge. Two stray marks near the bottom edge, one slight scratch in the mountains toward the top edge.

Overall Dimensions
Height: 21.00 in
Width: 30.00 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.