Thomas Hart Benton: The Boy, 1948
person waving to two people on a rural road
Thomas Hart Benton
The Boy, 1948
Lithograph, 9 1/2 x 13 3/8 in.


Thomas Hart Benton described this image as an “Ozark boy setting out from home – to go to school or to find work. The folks and his horse say good-bye.” Benton created this lithograph as a study for a painting. He was known for paintings of American rural and city life. Benton’s energetic figures and landscapes have a sense of rhythm, movement, and depth. He was known to make clay sculptural models for all his works, which helps to explain their three-dimensional illusion.


Thomas Hart Benton was born in Neosho, Missouri, in 1889. He studied for many years in both Europe and New York, and began his art career as a cartoonist. In creating art about the America he saw, he produced paintings, prints, and murals, which brought him popularity and fame. In 1934 Benton painted a self-portrait that was used as the first color cover of Time magazine. One of his greatest pieces was a mural painting for the Missouri state capitol in which he portrayed all aspects of Missouri life, such as hog farms, large industries, and town meetings. After a productive career, Benton died in 1975.


Ozark – of the Ozark Mountains region of the United States, which includes parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Illinois.

Lithograph – a printmaking technique in which an ink image is transferred to paper from an original drawing on stone or some other hard material. Many copies can be made of the same image.