4. America Today Mural by Thomas Hart Benton

benton7Thomas Hart Benton’s America Today (photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

This 10-panel mural was crafted in 1931 by the painter Thomas Hart Benton for a boardroom in the newest building of the New School for Social Research. Designed by Joseph Urban, the structure was crafted 1930 in the international style. The work depicts pre-depression era characters, including all aspects of society from boxers to workers. In 1982, when the New School  was short on funds, the work was sold to the AXA Group and adorned the company’s lobby until several years ago. The work was eventually put into storage until it was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art later that year, in 2012.