Please wait

Thomas Hart Benton

Poker Night (from A Streetcar Named Desire)

1948

On View

Floor 7

Robert W. Wilson Galleries

Artist

Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975)

Title

Poker Night (from A Streetcar Named Desire)

Date

1948

Medium

Tempera and oil on linen mounted on composition board

Dimensions

Sheet (sight): 36 × 48 in. (91.4 × 121.9 cm)

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Mrs. Percy Uris Bequest

Accession number

85.49.2

Object Label

In 1947, Thomas Hart Benton was commissioned by Hollywood producer David O. Selznick to create an original painting based on a scene in the film version of Tennessee Williams’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, A Streetcar Named Desire. The work was a gift for Selznick’s first wife, Irene, a theatrical producer responsible for bringing the play to Broadway in the same year. Poker Night captures the sexual tension and violent undertones in the relationships between Blanche DuBois, a down-and-out Southern belle (holding up a mirror), her sister, Stella (leaning over the armchair), and Stella’s husband, the hot-tempered, childlike Stanley Kowalski (wearing a white undershirt). It documents one of the play’s most dramatic and memorable moments, when Blanche taunts a drunk and angry Stanley with her petty provocations and refined airs.

Related exhibitions online

Prev Next