Label Text: Benton’s work found almost immediate acceptance and popularity with the American public. His murals for the New School for Social Research (1931) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1932) represent a high point in his career. These, together with the works of Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry, set the standard for regionalist painting of the 1930s. Spring Tryout recalls an incident in the artist’s youth, when one spring day he and another boy took an old horde out for a bareback ride. A surprised young Tom slipped off the horse’s backside when he suddenly broke into a trot.
"What first might appear to be a scene of unbridled joy is actually a riding mishap Benton experienced as a boy. Neither he nor his friend was hurt when their horse bucked unexpectedly. Benton also commemorated the memory in a painting.
This lithograph was released by Associated American Artists (AAA), a publisher of great influence beginning in the 1930s, with whom Benton worked extensively. AAA’s mission was to make quality fine arts prints available at very affordable prices to the general public. To that end, hundreds of editions were published by scores of artists. Captivating, usually uncontroversial subjects from daily life dominated the subject matter of AAA prints. Many were sold via a mail order catalogue and were advertised as easily accessible without need for the collector to bother with a dealer or gallery (written by Nancy Sojka for Passion on Paper: Masterly Prints from the KIA Collection, 2018)."