Met museum displays epic mural by Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975) 'City Activities with Dancehall' from 'America Today,' 1930–31. Mural cycle consisting of 10 panels. Egg tempera with oil glazing over Permalba on a gesso ground on linen mounted to wood panels with a honeycomb interior. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of AXA Equitable, 2012.

Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975) ‘City Activities with Dancehall’ from ‘America Today,’ 1930–31. Mural cycle consisting of 10 panels. Egg tempera with oil glazing over Permalba on a gesso ground on linen mounted to wood panels with a honeycomb interior. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of AXA Equitable, 2012.

NEW YORK (AP) – A 10-panel mural by realist painter Thomas Hart Benton depicting American life before the Depression is going on view at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

America Today was commissioned in 1930 for the New School for Social Research in Manhattan.

The panoramic artwork features imagery of industrial American life throughout the 1920s. There are figures of farmers, coal miners, steelworkers and tycoons of modern industry and transportation.

It established Benton as a leading American muralist.

The exhibit recreates the school’s original boardroom, where the work once hung. Benton’s studies for the mural are part of the exhibition.

The exhibition opens Tuesday and runs through April 19.

The work was donated to the Met in 2012 by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co., which purchased it in 1984.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975) 'City Activities with Dancehall' from 'America Today,' 1930–31. Mural cycle consisting of 10 panels. Egg tempera with oil glazing over Permalba on a gesso ground on linen mounted to wood panels with a honeycomb interior. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of AXA Equitable, 2012.

Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975) ‘City Activities with Dancehall’ from ‘America Today,’ 1930–31. Mural cycle consisting of 10 panels. Egg tempera with oil glazing over Permalba on a gesso ground on linen mounted to wood panels with a honeycomb interior. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of AXA Equitable, 2012.