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One of the central artists associated with the American Regionalism movement, Thomas Hart Benton strayed from the modernist trend toward abstraction in favor of a more representational, though stylized, approach. A native of the American Midwest, Benton made paintings and drawings depicting the realities of agrarian life and the pressures of industrialization. Benton regularly incorporated quintessentially American icons of progress in his images, including railroads, cars, and factories. Benton’s treatment of this subject matter points to an underlying social commentary on the tension between rural and city life and the disparity between idealized imagery and harsh reality.

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