Taps for Private Tussie won the Thomas Jefferson Southern Award in 1943 and was also a Book-of-the-Month Club selection that same year. This tale about the Tussie family is a story of poor white Southern mountaineers on relief and their attitudes towards human life and its problems, found in all peoples, places, and the times. The book is a fitting backdrop for the illustrations of Thomas Hart Benton whose easily recognizable fluid, almost sculpted figures depicted scenes of every day life and their accompanying struggles of survival. His biting social commentary can be seen in The Square Dance as well as his lively and amusing sense of humor in the slightly exaggerated ear of the fiddler in addition to the upraised hand of the dancer in the center. This proposed study for an illustration in the book highlights Benton's distinctive expressive lines and a certain spirited quality that is all Benton.
Louis Katz Art Galleries, New York, 1953
Henry van Dam, Madison, New Jersey
Stuart, Jesse, Taps for Private Tussie, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1943