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Jeff City MO

Jefferson City, Missouri Murals of Thomas Hart Benton

Although these murals are not actually WPA murals, the beauty and style of the Thomas Hart Benton murals in the Missouri State Capitol make them a significant example of New Deal artwork.

Benton was paid $16,000 by the Missouri Legislature over a period of 2 years to create a series of murals showing the social history of Missouri. The murals are currently valued at $10+ million. Benton started work on these murals in 1935 by traveling throughout Missouri. He made little models of clay for the figures he used in the murals. It took him 6 months to paint the murals. Benton finished his work in December 1936.

The murals are painted on canvas with egg tempera.

It took 35 dozen eggs to paint this room.

They are still installed in the Speaker’s Lounge in the Capitol.

The large black cloud represents the Civil War. There is a second large black cloud in the next panel that symbolizes Industrialization.

The story of Frankie and Johnnie

The Legend of Jessie James (man in red shirt)