Photographer's Note

This impressive mural is entitled "Independence and the Opening of the West." It was created by Thomas Hart Benton in 1961. It depicts the city of Independence from 1817-1847. Independence was the starting points for the Oregon, Santa Fe and California Trails, and was often considered the last town before the frontier in the west. It was even featured on a stamp in 1971 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Missouri statehood.

Benton was born in Neosho, Missouri in 1889, and studied at the Chicago Art Institute and even the Academie Julien in Paris. He became a prominent painter in the early 1920s and 30s, notably for "the high and mighty of politics, art education, criticism or... privilege," according to friend Sidney Larson. His father was a member of the House of Representatives from 1894 to 1904. Benton was a notable leftist, even a Communist party member at one point. He reportedly hosted secret meetings at his home. His paintings often highlighted the "common man," and the working class centrality in the history of the US. He began work on the mural in 1960, three years after the founding of the Truman Library. He became a close friend of Truman, in fact; the latter on one occasion even took up a paint brush and painted part of the blue sky at the top of the mural, so the former president actually contributed to this mural at his own Presidential Library! Truman also once remarked why Benton was awarded the commission: he said that "I picked him because he was the best and this is the finest work by the best."

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 80 W: 78 N: 894] (1691)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2019-05-12
  • Categories: Artwork
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2019-08-03 21:25
Viewed: 182
Points: 0
  • None
Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 80 W: 78 N: 894] (1691)
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