Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889–1975). Coal, from America Today, 1930–31. Mural cycle consisting of ten 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, New York, Gift of AXA Equitable, 2012 (2012.478a–j2012). View a slideshow of all ten panels.
«I am delighted to announce that Thomas Hart Benton's epic mural America Today—a sweeping panorama of American life, has been donated by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.» Commissioned in 1930 for the board room of the New School International Style building on West 12th Street, America Today was Benton's first major mural commission, and remains his best-known work. The ten-panel mural is imbued with the spirit of the Machine Age, and offers us a great opportunity to enrich our narrative of twentieth-century American art. It arrives at an optimal moment as we begin to consider new ideas for our galleries of modern art. Read the full press release for more information.
I invite you to explore the images of this exciting new acquisition, both in a slideshow and in the silent animated rendering below: