Learn more about the artists, places, and themes in this exhibition.

Spring Ploughing


A black and white photograph of a hilly field with small bushy crops and barns peeking out from behind the curve of the hill.

Dust Bowl farm. Coldwater District, near Dalhart, Texas. This farm is occupied. Others in this area have been abandoned., 1938, Dorothea Lange, American, 1895-1965, silver gelatin print, 4×5 in., Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-fsa-8b32406

Thomas Hart Benton built his artistic reputation as a leading Regionalist painter by representing the American countryside. Whereas photographer Dorothea Lange’s photographs like this one documented the severe drought of the 1930s Dust Bowl during the Great Depression, Benton’s painting of blossoming trees in Spring Ploughing provided a popular, optimistic counterpoint to the harsh realities of the period.