George Caleb Bingham (image: “Self-Portrait of the Artist”) was a 19th-century American politician and artist known for his luminist landscapes, portraits, and representations of Midwestern river life. The latter established Bingham’s reputation during his lifetime and are today widely recognized as his finest works. George Caleb Bingham’s paintings are displayed in some of the leading museums in the United States, including the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Cincinnati Art Museum, among others. Throughout his career, the artist created many notable paintings, and in this blog post, we want to draw your attention to the best of them.
George Caleb Bingham’s Paintings You Should Know
1. “The Jolly Flatboatmen” (1846)
“The Jolly Flatboatmen” is probably the most known painting by George Caleb Bingham. Purchased by the American Art-Union directly from the artist in 1847, it was produced in a large number of engravings and distributed to 10,000 members throughout the country, making this work one of the most recognizable art pieces of its era. The painting is now in the collection of the National Gallery of Art.
2. “Fur Traders Descending the Missouri” (c. 1845)
“Fur Traders Descending the Missouri” is another famous painting by George Caleb Bingham. It was created in the style of luminism, which is characterized by the effects of light, achieved through the use of the concealment of visible brushstrokes and aerial perspective. The artwork is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
3. “The County Election” (1952)
“The County Election” is the first of George Caleb Bingham’s paintings from the Election Series that he created to reach a national audience and to spread the idea of free institutions and free people. The painting, along with two others from this series (“Stump Speaking” and “The Verdict of the People”), is in the collection of the Saint Louis Art Museum.
George Caleb Bingham’s paintings are indeed an important part of American art history, so we highly recommend that you take the time to learn more about the work of this notable artist.