Denny Dilley (Dinny Dille)
This preparatory study depicts seven-year-old Dennis (Denny) Dilley from Spring Mill, Indiana, posing as a Huck Finn-like character for Benton’s Indiana Murals. In the final panel the little fisherman is shown playing hooky outside a one-room schoolhouse, while the stern Hoosier schoolmaster looks over in consternation. When Denny visited the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, where the murals were displayed in the Indiana Hall, he was disappointed by how small he appeared in the over-250-foot-long mural cycle. The Indiana Murals are now housed on the IU Bloomington campus in the IU Auditorium, IU Cinema, and Woodburn Hall.
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection includes eighty-nine preparatory sketches for this mural cycle (Eskenazi Museum of Art 87.19.1–.88 and 2008.221).
Thomas Hart Benton
Denny Dilley (Dinny Dille) [Study for “Early Schools…Communities” (Cultural Panel 4) of *The Indiana Murals*]
Graphite on paper
Image/sheet: 11 15/16 x 8 7/8 in. (30.3 x 22.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 87.19.14