Painter and muralist of the Regionalist art movement whose works included "America Today" and "Indiana Murals." He favored scenes of the American Midwest, South, and West.
He attended the Art Institute of Chicago and the Academie Julian in Paris. He was profoundly influenced by the Synchromism of Stanton Macdonald-Wright.
He taught Jackson Pollock at the Art Students League of New York.
He married Italian immigrant Rita Piacenza in 1922; together, they had a son, Thomas Piacenza Benton, and a daughter, Jessie Benton.
He met Diego Rivera while studying in Paris.