Lucas Buys Harlem Renaissance Greats, a Benton Witch Hunt
The Bentons are from the American Historical Epic, created 1924-27. Most of the oil-on-canvas panels, each about five feet high, are in the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City. Though Benton's representational art and outrageous sexism fell out of fashion, he was no Norman Rockwell. Benton was a democratic socialist who saw U.S. history as a series of tragedies. The most interesting of the Lucas panels, Religion (The Witch), shows the conclusion of an American witch hunt. The accused begs for Christian mercy that will not be forthcoming. Benton didn't approve of "mannish" women, but the long, tall one at right is an amazing invention. The gallows looms against a hill that is also a breast.
|Thomas Hart Benton, Religion (The Witch), 1924-27|
|Thomas Hart Benton, Planting (The Planters), 1924-27|
|Jacob Lawrence, Harlem Street Scene, 1942|
|Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled (Kitchen Table series), 1990|
|Romare Bearden, Scylla and Charybdis, 1977|
|Gordon Parks, Store Front, Mobile, Alabama, 1956|