George Caleb Bingham, one of the major American genre artists of the 19th century, is famous for his wonderful paintings depicting the frontier life along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. On June 17, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York presented the exhibition called “Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River” – that has become the first large exhibition of the painter for more than 25 years. Moreover, the exposure for the first time brings together 16 paintings depicting the iconic rivers from different museums. It is an outstanding chronicle showing the process of transformation of the western wilderness and civilizing the nation. Among Bingham’s fine art works, you can also find over forty preparatory drawings of boatmen and fur traders at work and leisure. These sketches give an unprecedented picture of the artist’s creative process, his working methods, and techniques.
The highlight of the exhibition is one of the painter’s most famous early masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum’s art collection, “Fur Traders Descending the Missouri” (1845). Another one of the most recognizable canvas art paintings by George Caleb Bingham, “The Jolly Flatboatmen” (1846) from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., is also exhibited. Thus, visitors have a unique opportunity to see the preliminary sketches together with the already finished Bingham’s paintings. The modern art exhibition runs until September 20, 2015.