Thomas Hart Benton’s murals, America Today, have an immediate impact of color, exuberance, and resonant ideas.  Urban and rural, old ways and new, labor and entertainment, freedom and oppression, rich, poor, and all the way through the middle:  the view is so wide and comprehensive it seems to really encompass, in broad strokes and specifics, the essence of America in a defining view.  At the same time, the murals span in spirit two epochs  — the excesses and abundance of the “Jazz Age” of the 20’s, formative for Benton’s imagination, and the bitter advance of the Great Depression.

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