© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Thomas Hart Benton Painting Returns To Missouri

courtesy: National Churchill Museum

It's been away for nearly 70 years, but this week, a Thomas Hart Benton painting called "The New Fence" returned to Missouri. 

In 1946, Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., gifted the Benton painting to Sir Winston Churchill. It was Churchill’s request, in lieu of payment, for a college lecture that later became known as the historic “Iron Curtain” speech.

Media and public relations director Rob Crouse says it's not clear when the painting left Churchill's collection, but it was sold at an auction in the 1960s. It then went on to private and corporate collections in New York.

Benton's "The New Fence" depicts a farmer at work on a barbed wire fence. 

"The colors are just so vivid," says Crouse. "Even though it's a small painting — it's 12 by 9 inches — the images just pop out at you." 

The painting is a gift from an alumnus, James Henry Jance, Jr., his wife, Beverly, and Bank of America. It will be on display in the National Churchill Museum in Fulton. 

In October 2015, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., opens the first major exhibition of Benton’s work in more than 25 years. 

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.