Pen and brush and black ink and black crayon, with graphite
Support: Creme(2) wove paper
Image: 35.6 x 51.5 cm (14 x 20 1/4 in.); Sheet: 37.4 x 53.2 cm (14 3/4 x 20 15/16 in.)
Art © T.H. Benton and R.P. Benton Testamentary Trusts/UMB Bank Trustee/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1995.70
Thomas Hart Benton was a lifelong Democrat, which may have informed the focus on drama and disorder throughout his drawings of the Republican National Convention.
Thomas Hart Benton traveled to Cleveland during the summer of 1936 to attend the Republican National Convention and record its events through sketches. This drawing shows delegates engaged in a variety of activities, included whispered deal making and a scuffle that attracts the attention of a policeman. Benton used areas of crosshatching, parallel lines, and subtle shading to create a sense of drama, reducing the crowd of onlookers to a regular pattern of circular marks. The series of drawings was likely intended for reproduction in magazines, such as Life, although only one was ultimately published, in the journal Common Sense. Benton's dynamic and easily legible style lent itself to such illustrations and characterized the many depictions of American life that he made around this period.
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