American, 1889–1975. Thomas Hart Benton was a painter and muralist, recognized for rejecting modernism and propagating the use of imagery unique to the American midwest. Benton was born in April 1889 and worked as a commercial illustrator at the beginning of his career. Later, his academics at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Académie Julian influenced his professional advancement. As a part of the American Regionalist movement, Benton created representational paintings that depicted the realities of life for those dependent on agriculture and pressurized during the Industrial Age. By incorporating American iconography like railroads and factories, combined with social commentary, he depicted in his drawings the divide between an ideal world and the harsh reality.