Navigating the West George Caleb Bingham and the River

One of the foremost American genre painters of the nineteenth century, George Caleb Bingham is best known for his compelling depictions of frontier life along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Art Exhibition previously on at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, United States.
From Wednesday 17 June 2015 to Sunday 20 September 2015

Fur Traders Descending the Missouri image

Published by anonymous on Thursday 09 April 2015.
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This exhibition will bring together for the first time sixteen of Bingham’s iconic river paintings, with such highlights as The Jolly Flatboatmen (1846; Manoogian Collection), exploring them as an extraordinary artistic series that chronicles the process of civilizing the nation by transforming the western wilderness. As an entrepreneurial effort, Bingham’s series harnessed the fluid social worlds of the inland rivers and addressed the expectations of regional and national audiences during the 1840s and 1850s.

Over forty of Bingham’s masterful preparatory drawings will be included in the exhibition, enabling audiences to witness firsthand the artist’s in-depth study and preparation for his paintings. A special feature of the exhibition will be the newly discovered underdrawings for Bingham’s celebrated masterpiece Fur Traders Descending the Missouri (1845). The project includes an innovative technical study comparing findings from state-of-the-art infrared analysis of the paintings with in-depth studies of the figural preparatory drawings, revealing how Bingham’s meticulous creative methods resulted in compositions and characters that told carefully crafted stories on canvas.

This dynamic exhibition will reveal not only how the Mississippi and Missouri rivers advanced the integration of the West into a national narrative, but how Bingham’s paintings claim a place for western character and identity in shaping the United States.