On Monday, Schoelkopf gallery announced that it will be the exclusive representative of the trust of Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton. The gallery aims to elevate Benton’s international profile as a significant influence in 20th century Modernism. Schoelkopf, which recently relocated to Tribeca, will initiate the representation with six extravagant Benton paintings at this week’s Art Basel Miami Beach. These paintings were created between 1925 and 1973, just two years before Benton’s death.
Benton’s paintings, similar to those of Edward Hopper, evoke the feel of early 20th century film stills, often depicting a raw and untamed America. Benton, like Hopper, was captivated by the modernist abstract school that emerged from Cezanne’s work during his time in Paris in the 1910s. However, he later rejected this style in favor of the figurative work that brought him fame.
The pieces displayed at Schoelkopf’s booth offer a glimpse into the gallery’s future plans. In 2024, the gallery plans to exhibit works Benton created during his travels through the American West. Although less known than Benton’s “Heartland in America paintings,” his travels through New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, and Colorado resulted in some of his most cinematic works.
One of these works, Wyoming Landscape (1967), will be displayed during Art Basel Miami Beach. Despite its small size, the painting exudes a golden warmth that reflects the principles Benton learned in Paris. The painting demonstrates that, despite Benton’s dismissal of modern art, the principles of abstraction still found a place in his work.
The gallery, through the Trust, will be able to introduce many of Benton’s paintings and works on paper to the primary market.