Threshing Wheat

Neosho, Missouri, USA
Egg tempera and oil on canvas mounted on panel
Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, Indiana, museum purchase
Accession number
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Thomas Hart Benton’s Threshing Wheat presents a uniquely twentieth-century vision of landscape, depicting the gentle, flowing fields of the American Midwest as they come under mechanized cultivation. The painting delineates the delicate balance between nature and cultivation and between agrarian traditions of the past and the industrialized farming of the future. The rolling hills reference a history of local farming, while the mechanized farming equipment mark the industry’s rapid transformation. Despite this tension, the rhythmic undulations of hills, clouds, and smoky exhaust emphasize peaceful coexistence.