Farnsworth Lecture about Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock


On Thursday, September 8, the Farnsworth Art Museum will present a lecture by scholar Henry Adams entitled Tom and Jack: The Intertwined Lives of Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock. The lecture will take place in the museum’s auditorium at 6 p.m.

In a story full of surprises, Henry Adams will explore the intense and sometimes turbulent relationship between the two men. He will also trace the evolution of their art, from Benton’s early adventures as a modernist in Gertrude Stein’s Paris, to Pollock’s ultimate triumph as the leader of the Abstract Expressionists. At first glance the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock—lariats of pigment thrown onto the canvas—appear to be the polar opposite of Thomas Hart Benton’s murals—restlessly rolling American landscapes peopled by cowboys and steelworkers.  Yet the two artists had a close and intense relationship dating from Pollock’s earliest days in New York, when Benton, then one of the most famous artists in America, took the young man under his wing. Benton gave Pollock the only formal training he ever had, and in a disturbing oedipal twist, Pollock even fell in love with Benton’s wife.

Lecturer Henry Adams holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Yale University and is Professor of American Art at Case Western Reserve University. In 2010, Adams gave the Farnsworth’s annual Wyeth Day lecture entitled Andrew Wyeth, King Vidor, and The Big Parade.

Seating for this program is limited to 60 people. The cost is $8 for members and $10 for nonmembers. For reservations, please call 207-596-0949 or visit farnsworthmusem.org/education.