Thomas Hart Benton's work had a profound effect on American art. Born in 1889, he lived through World War l, World War ll and the Depression. Although he called himself an enemy of modernism, his teaching at the New York Art Students League, from 1925 to 1935, impacted the progression of Abstract Expressionism and modern art.
After studying in Paris, Benton returned to New York in the early 1920's and said that his time in Europe had made him an "enemy of modernism", ironically, the art movement that his teaching generated. Benton taught at the Art Students League of New York from 1926 to 1935. Jackson Pollock, one of the leading figures in the Abstract Expressionist movement, was one of Benton's favorite students. They traveled through the West together in the 1930s, and Benton had a profound effect on Pollock's work and life.
Thomas Hart Benton was one of the most popular, interesting and controversial artists of twentieth century America. He was born in Missouri in 1889. His father was a U.S. congressman. His great uncle, after whom he was named, was a U.S. senator.