Benton's 1951 flood painting to be auctioned in New York

NEW YORK | As the swollen Mississippi River threatens residents of the South, a 1951 painting is a reminder of another devastating flood 60 years ago.

"Flood Disaster" by Thomas Hart Benton will be auctioned at Sotheby's in Manhattan on Thursday. The presale estimate is $800,000 to $1.2 million.

It depicts the damage caused when the Kansas and Missouri rivers overflowed their banks on July 13, 1951.

The painting depicts two wrecked houses, a mangled car and a washing machine covered in mud on the shore of the Kansas River. Benton sent lithographs of the same piece to members of Congress urging them to expand a flood relief bill.

A 1951 Associated Press photo shows Benton holding a lithograph while looking at his painting and initial sketch.