This dynamic exhibition presents 16 iconic river paintings and 50 preparatory drawings by George Caleb Bingham (1811–1879) depicting boatmen at work and play on the inland rivers, most notably the Missouri and Mississippi.
Bingham was the first artist to live most of his life west of the Mississippi River while still achieving national acclaim and prominence. As a young boy, he emigrated from Virginia to Missouri, where he became a prolific portraitist. Bingham was self-taught and relied on drawing manuals rather than formal academic study. He became an itinerant painter, traveling to nearby counties alongside the Missouri River and painting portraits of aspiring middle-class businessmen. Bingham had an astute grasp of the concept of the self-made man and created images of Westerners as they wished to be seen.
October 2-January 18