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1951 flood painting by Thomas Hart Benton sells for nearly $1.9 million

Thursday, May 19, 2011 | 12:21 p.m. CDT
"Flood Disaster," by Thomas Hart Benton, sold at auction Thursday for $1.9 million.

NEW YORK — A poignant 1951 painting that depicts a devastating flood in Kansas and Missouri has sold for nearly $1.9 million at a New York City auction.

The price for "Flood Disaster" by Thomas Hart Benton exceeded its pre-sale estimate of $1.2 million on Thursday.

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Sotheby's did not disclose the buyer's name.

The work depicts damage caused by the swollen Kansas and Missouri rivers on July 13, 1951.

The painting shows two wrecked houses, a mangled car and a washing machine covered in mud on the shore of the Kansas River. Benton sent lithographs of the same piece to members of Congress urging them to expand a flood relief bill.


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