Lot 95

Thomas Hart Benton "Violinist and Burlesque Dancer" Ink/Graphite (ca. 1929-30)

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Thomas Hart Benton

(Missouri, 1889-1975)

Violinist and Burlesque Dancer, circa 1929-30

Ink and graphite on paper

4 1/4" x 3"


Benton scholar Dr. Henry Adams: "This study of a burlesque show was surely sketched directly from life. It is hard to date precisely but resembles Benton’s work from the late 1920s. In the 1920s and 1930s, burlesque scenes became a popular subject for adventurous New York artists interested in capturing American life in the raw. Benton’s young artist-friend Reginald Marsh made many paintings of burlesque scenes, and Benton himself produced one in 1922--a painting titled Burlesque which once belonged to the composer Cole Porter. Benton also included a portrait of a well-known stripper, Peggy Reynolds, in one of the two City Activities panels of his mural America Today. In the mural, however, he did not show her in a burlesque hall but rather clothed, as a passenger on a subway being ogled by his friend Max Eastman."


To the opposite side are more figural studies. Matted to 14" x 11".


The sheet has a dark brown stain to the right of the primary image, and faint stray marks in the bottom left. The sheet has darkened with age.

Overall Dimensions
Height: 14.00 in
Width: 11.00 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.