Lot 26

Thomas Hart Benton "The Upper Missouri" Graphite (ca. 1965)

Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500
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)

The Upper Missouri, circa 1965

Graphite on paper

10" x 14"


Benton scholar Dr. Henry Adams: "This probably represents a location the Upper Missouri River. In 1965, at the invitation of the U. S. Corps of Engineers, Benton made his first trip on the upper waters of the mud-choked Missouri River-- the “strong brown god” of his fellow Missourian T.S. Eliot-- to view a section of the river that was about to be submerged by a 360 million dollar dam complex. This drawing appears to have been made on this trip. Because of dams the only navigable stretch was the 150 miles downstream from Fort Benton (named for the artist’s great-uncle, Senator Thomas Hart Benton), to Slippery Ann Creek (named for a bank robber’s mistress, who had a slippery way with a deck of cards). Before Benton, the last professional painter to visit the region was Karl Bodmer, who in 1835 accompanied the expedition of Prince Maximilian Von Wied-Neuwied."


Matted to 16" x 20".



Good condition, noting a little bit of wrinkling to the sheet and a few small abrasions near the bottom edge.

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.