Lot 23

Thomas Hart Benton "Tractor Study for America Today" Graphite (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)

Tractor Study for America Today, circa 1928

Graphite on paper

9 3/4" x 10 1/2"


Benton scholar Dr. Henry Adams: "Like the Ford pick-up described above [another lot offered in this auction], the tractor in this drawing appears in Benton’s mural America Today of 1930, in the section that records The Changing West [Baigell 83]. There it pulls a harvester and thresher, modern farm equipment which had recently revolutionized American agriculture. The drawing surely dates from Benton’s sketching trip of 1928, and was very likely made in the same location as the previous study. As was his usual practice, Benton must have kept this sketch on hand for reference while executing the mural. The paint splotches on the drawing probably fell on it while Benton was making the painting."


Matted to 20" x 16".


As described by Dr. Adams, there are paint splotches along the right and bottom right edge, likely from the artist's hand as he used the sketch as reference for his painting. These paint splotches have resulted in some rippling in those areas of the sheet. Tape stain in the top left corner. Some wrinkling from handling.

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.