The Meeting

The Meeting

Thomas Hart Benton (b. 1889 - d. 1975)

The Meeting

1941

lithograph

Galesburg Civic Art Center Permanent Collection

Hailing from Missouri, Benton was one of the major Regionalist artists of the 1930s. The leading artistic movement during this decade, Regionalism aimed to be uniquely American and emphasized traditional Midwestern values and folksy themes of everyday life. While Regionalism celebrated the strength and endurance of the American people, it also promoted a narrow, conservative view of the nation’s culture and history. In contrast, Benton advocated for social justice in certain works and protested some of the hypocrisy and racism of Midwestern society, condemning the rise of the Klu Klux Klan and the horrors of lynching. This print is a more mildly satirical Regionalist subject and depicts a town hall meeting with a group of country folk. The figure is clearly a caricature, rendered in a cartoonish style. The pontificating speaker looks pompous, while the audience appears bored, perhaps a humorous commentary on the dull routine and platitudes of small-town rural life.

Mia Rousonelus