July 07, 2016

Contact: Communications Office

Never before-seen Benton painting to debut at the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site

Missouri State Parks will unveil a never-before-exhibited original oil painting by Thomas Hart Benton at an open house 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 7 at the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site in Kansas City.

The “Unseen Benton” is the debut of a very early Benton still-life painting. This untitled work is an example of young Benton’s attempt to paint in the style of the French artist, Paul Cézanne. This painting has never been exhibited in any art museum, art gallery, or catalog.

The painting was owned by Benton’s New York City dentist, Dr. Moritz Jagendorf.  It was later inherited by his grand-daughter, Ruth Alpert of Santa Barbara, Calif.  After a friend suggested she let a museum borrow the painting, Alpert said that she was, “thrilled to find the Benton Home State Historic Site – it’s a perfect match!  And I am very happy the painting is going beyond my family circle and will now be seen by many more people.”

Thomas Hart Benton was born in Neosho April 15, 1889. He studied art in Paris from 1909-11 and in 1912 he arrived in New York. Within the next two years, he created this oil on canvas still life, and it went to Dr. Moritz, possibly as payment in lieu of services.

There will be several other activities taking place during the free “Unseen Benton” event. A number of artifacts that are normally not on exhibit will be temporarily displayed in Benton’s dining room and studio. A photo of the interior of the studio will be raffled off by the friends group. There will be a photo booth where guests can tag their pictures at #UnseenBenton, a coloring station and also light refreshments.

Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site is located at 3616 Belleview in Kansas City. For more information about the event, call the site at 816-931-5722. Missouri State Parks is supported by one-tenth of one-percent Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax, which accounts for approximately 75 percent of the budget to repair, improve and maintain state parks and historic sites. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit