One of the leading artists of the USA in the last century was George. K. Bingham, whose works are extremely typical reflected these points. George Caleb Bingham was born in Virginia, on the Atlantic ocean. When he was seven years old, the family moved West to Missouri, just captured from the Indians. In this state, Bingham has lived most of his life, and in the history of American art, he came as "the Missouri artist".
In connection with the death of the father the boy had twelve years to begin to work: first at the farm, then apprenticed to a cabinetmaker. As a self-taught, he began painting and paint portraits of others. In 1838, being already the father of a family, Bingham went to Philadelphia, where he was the oldest in the country, the Pennsylvania Academy of fine arts and attended classes for several months.
He bought a lot of prints, which I studied drawing and composition. When the artist first exhibited in new York gallery of Apollo his painting "Western boatmen ashore". Returning to Missouri, Bingham continued to paint portraits.
In 1840 Bingham moved to Washington, where he opened a portrait Studio. While still in Missouri, Bingham takes part in the political life of the state during the presidential election campaign, he continued political activities in the capital, in particular, painted the banners for the national Convention of the Whig party, as well as portraits of political figures.
Active political life, especially during election campaigns, drew and Bingham as artist: he loved to see the expression of characters, to watch crowds of different people, the faces of the speakers — his notebooks are full of such sketches, he later devoted a number of paintings.
Back in 1844 in Missouri, Bingham was elected after some time in the state legislature, was a delegate to national conventions and for three years was Treasurer of his state. All this political activity was reflected in his art, he painted a series of paintings dedicated to the various elections: "the Speech at the meeting" (1847), "Local politicians" (1849), "Local elections" (1851), "Collection of votes" (1851), "the Verdict of the people" (C. 1855) and T. p. Wrote the Bingham historical paintings, such as, for example, as "the Transition of Washington across the Delaware" (1856), and during the Civil war he painted "the Law of war, or Order No. 11" (1869).
In the second half of his life, Bingham rarely left Missouri, only in 1856 he went to Europe, where, after spending two months in Paris, he settled in Germany, in düsseldorf and lived there until 1859. In 1877 Bingham was a Professor in the newly created then the Art school at the University of Missouri. He died in Kansas city. Thank Bingham brought the paintings on the theme of life in the Middle West. Appeal to everyday life with this exotic for the time area of the country was news to American art. The first of such paintings was written by Bingham in 1845, is the "fur Traders on the Missouri" that the Soviet audience saw at the exhibition "100 paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of art" in 1975. This artwork reflected the characteristics of the Bingham-painter: a thorough otdelnosti detail, balanced composition, interest in conveying the atmospheric and lighting effects.
However, the true national prominence has brought Bingham the following picture of the "Jolly boatman" (1846, subsequently written two more options, one of them in 1857).
Exhibited at the American art Union, and immediately purchased, it was soon published in print several thousand copies and made the artist known throughout the country. It’s like an illustration of life on the great American rivers — the Mississippi and Missouri: ferry, where the sailors rested, and dancing in the center of the ferryman. Subtle tonal gradations, the transparency of air perfectly convey the character of the landscape. You can call many of the paintings of Bingham of the same kind: "Ferries on the Mississippi, playing cards" (1851), "Boatmen on the Missouri" (1846), "the Boatmen on the river" (1854), etc. All of them are based on classical compositional rules, very balanced, painting a detailed characteristic of the accuracy of the letter, the materiality of forms, the distinctness of the lines. On these pictures you can get acquainted with the life of the Midwest in the middle of the last century, according to the documents, but they are imbued with the elegiac mood, and the light and colour make them a romantic note.
Judging by some works, such as "Storm" (1850) or "the transmigration of the family of Daniel Boone" (1851), Bingham certainly was interested in the dramatic side of life, but the then prevailing notional examples of painting was for him an indisputable authority: not by chance he was won over by the Dusseldorf school with her detail, care and vypisnoy.
John. K. Bingham was almost forgotten by the beginning of the present century. Only in the 1930-ies, in search of national traditions, Americans again remembered about him: the Bingham began to emerge monographs, held a number of exhibitions of his works. He currently is the biggest artist of the Western States of the United States of the nineteenth century.
View an artwork by the artist