Urban Realism and the American Scene

Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975)
Slaves, 1925
Oil on cotton duck mounted on board, 66 7/16 x 72 3/8 in. (168.8 x 183.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund. Image © T.H. Benton and R.P. Benton Testamentary Trusts/UMB Bank Trustee/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 2003.4

Object-Thomas Hart Benton, Slaves

Thomas Hart Benton was a pioneering painter and muralist known for his dynamic large-scale depictions of Midwestern agriculture, industry, and landscapes as well as of challenging episodes in American history. Slaves is one panel in his extensive multi-painting series The American Historical Epic (1919–28), which presents a revisionist view of the country’s early history through themes of racial conflict and economic exploitation. This work is an indictment of the abuse enslaved Africans suffered in America from the seventeenth century until the practice was abolished in 1865. A white overseer brutalizes a man and his family on the deck of a slave ship as it approaches the American shore. Although in Benton’s time slavery was a topic considered largely in historical terms, Slaves appears unabashedly contemporary in style and execution and unequivocally conveys the artist’s abhorrence of both slavery and the ongoing mistreatment of African Americans.

Learn more about this painting on the Terra Foundation website.


Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975)
Slaves, 1925
Oil on cotton duck mounted on board, 66 7/16 x 72 3/8 in. (168.8 x 183.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund. Image © T.H. Benton and R.P. Benton Testamentary Trusts/UMB Bank Trustee/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 2003.4

Urban Realism and the American Scene

William Glackens (1870–1938)
Bal Bullier, c. 1895
Oil on canvas, 23 13/16 x 32 in. (60.5 x 81.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.59
Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1858–1924)
The Grand Canal, Venice, c. 1898–99
Watercolor and graphite on paper, 18 1/8 x 14 1/4 in. (46.0 x 36.2 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.123
Everett Shinn (1876–1953)
Theater Scene, 1903
Oil on canvas, 12 3/4 x 15 1/2 in. (32.4 x 39.4 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.136
Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1858–1924)
Salem Willows, 1904
Oil on canvas, 26 1/4 x 34 1/4 in. (66.7 x 87.0 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.120
George Luks (1866–1933)
Knitting for the Soldiers: High Bridge Park, c. 1918
Oil on canvas, 30 3/16 x 36 1/8 in. (76.7 x 91.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.87
Robert Henri (1865–1929)
Sylvester, 1914
Oil on canvas, 32 x 26 in. (81.2 x 66 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2017.2
Rockwell Kent (1882–1971)
Cranberrying, Monhegan, c. 1907
Oil on canvas, 28 1/16 x 38 1/4 in. (71.3 x 97.2 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Gift of Mr. Dan Burne Jones. Image © Plattsburgh State Art Museum, Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection., C1983.4
George Bellows (1882–1925)
The Palisades, 1909
Oil on canvas, 30 x 38 1/8 in. (76.2 x 96.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.10
Robert Henri (1865–1929)
Figure in Motion, 1913
Oil on canvas, 77 1/4 x 37 1/4 in. (196.2 x 94.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.69
Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975)
Slaves, 1925
Oil on cotton duck mounted on board, 66 7/16 x 72 3/8 in. (168.8 x 183.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund. Image © T.H. Benton and R.P. Benton Testamentary Trusts/UMB Bank Trustee/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 2003.4
Walter Ufer (1876–1936)
Builders of the Desert, 1923
Oil on canvas laid down on aluminum, 50 1/8 x 50 1/8 in. (127.3 x 127.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.174
Reginald Marsh (1898–1954)
Chicago, 1930
Watercolor, over graphite, on cream wove watercolor paper, 13 7/8 x 20 in. (35.2 x 50.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 1998.4
Reginald Marsh (1898–1954)
Pip and Flip, 1932
Tempera on canvas mounted on canvas, 48 1/4 x 48 1/4 in. (122.6 x 122.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Image © Estate of Reginald Marsh / Art Students League, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York ., 1999.96
Archibald J. Motley, Jr. (1891–1981)
Between Acts, 1935
Oil on canvas, 39 1/2 x 32 in. (100.3 x 81.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2009.1
Charles Sheeler (1883–1965)
Bucks County Barn, 1940
Oil on canvas, 18 3/8 x 28 3/8 in. (46.7 x 72.1 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.135
Romare Bearden (1911–1988)
After Church, 1941
Gouache on brown paper, 22 × 34 1/2 in. (55.9 × 87.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund. Image © 2018 Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 2015.2
Edward Hopper (1882–1967)
Dawn in Pennsylvania, 1942
Oil on canvas, 24 3/8 x 44 1/4 in. (61.9 x 112.4 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Image © Heirs of Josephine Hopper/ Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 1999.77
Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000)
Bar-b-que, 1942
Gouache on wove paper, 30 7/8 x 22 1/2 in. (78.4 x 57.2 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2013.1
Walt Kuhn (1877–1949)
Clown with Drum, 1942
Oil on canvas, 60 7/8 x 41 3/8 in. (154.6 x 105.1 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.172
Edward Hopper (1882–1967)
Sierra Madre at Monterrey, 1943
Watercolor with touches of wiping, over a charcoal underdrawing, on heavyweight textured ivory wove watercolor paper, 21 1/4 x 29 3/4 in. (54.0 x 75.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1994.18