Although influence by Cubism and something called Synchromism (which is a sort of abstractionism with primary emphasis on color planes and organization), what Benton brought back from Europe had little to do with these French avant-gard movements. His greatest influences were Italian--Michelangelo, Tintoretto, and El Grecco (not Italian, but himself influence strongly by Michelangelo). Upon returning to this country, Benton settled in New York and did some nationally aclaimed work there, his growing popularity soon brought him back to his Midwestern roots as he began receiving commissions for public works involving murals with historic themes in states such as Indiana, Illinois, and his home state of Missouri.
The Mural was an ideal outlet for the style and grand influences Benton brought back from Europe. Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Jose Orozco had found popularity in this country by bringing with them from south of the border the nationalistic themes that struck a responsive chord in depression-ravaged hearts of their northern neighbors. Governments were also in the mood to support public works of art in everything from state capitols to local post offices. But Benton brought to mural painting something different, a new style, new color, new compositional elements, and evolved it into what basically amounted to a new artform, no longer static and stately, but writhing with energy, packed with narrative elements, vibrant colors, and flowing, undulating compositions which guided the eye through complex streams of visual consciousness never before seen on the walls of the Midwest or anywhere else. He died in 1975 at the age of 86, his kinship to his famous grandfather little noted outside his home state.