Images of waterways figure prominently in the art of Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975). His depictions of rivers, streams, gullies, and creeks form a subgenre of American landscape painting, inviting us to rethink the artistic meaning and historical legacy of even the narrowest of inlets. Among Benton’s most significant representations of this subject matter is a body of work from 1938 to 1942 depicting smaller, more intimate coves and creeks. The painting Shallow Creek (1938, Collection of James and Barbara Palmer) is a linchpin of this series, an extraordinarily personal canvas and one of the most symbolically charged works produced by the artist.
This catalogue, accompanying an exhibition of the same name and organized by the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State University, unravels the work’s richly expressive forms and densely loaded iconographies to reveal a narrative at once markedly public and deeply private in scope. Several additional works by Benton shed further light on the artist’s river imagery and related subject matter, especially his return to remarkably similar themes later in life, based on his numerous “float trips” on the Buffalo and White Rivers in northern Arkansas.
|Publisher:||Palmer Museum of Art|
|Series:||Penn State Press Series|
|Product dimensions:||8.30(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
Leo G. Mazow is Curator of American Art at the Palmer Museum of Art and Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at Penn State University.