George Caleb Bingham / Fur Traders Descending the Missouri / 1845George Caleb Bingham
Fur Traders Descending the Missouri

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Creator Name: Bingham, George Caleb
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1811-1879
Creator Name-CRT: George Caleb Bingham
Title: Fur Traders Descending the Missouri
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1845
Creation End Date: 1845
Creation Date: 1845
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 29 x 36 1/2 in. (73.7 x 92.7 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 33.61
Credit Line: Morris K. Jesup Fund, 1933

On June 4, 1845, Bingham returned from a winter stay in central Missouri to St. Louis, bringing with him several paintings and many sketches. This apparently was one of the pictures that he brought with him, and he sent it later that year for sale to the American Art-Union. It was first called 'French-Trader-Half breed Son,' but the Art-Union gave it the title by which it is now known. Bingham, whose earliest efforts were portraits, produced a masterpiece of genre painting with little precedent in his oeuvre. The strikingly spare, geometric composition and luminist light recall the paintings of William Sidney Mount, particularly his 'Eel Spearing at Setauket' (New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown). The solemn, motionless scene immortalizes the vanished world of the American frontier, constructed for a northeastern audience. The tranquil work was submitted to the Art-Union as a possible companion to the more implicitly violent 'The Concealed Enemy' (Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas), in which an armed Osage warrior lies in wait behind a boulder. The polar opposition of quietude, savagery, and frontier danger embodied in the paintings held enormous appeal for urban viewers. Bingham painted a similar, though less extraordinary, picture called 'The Trapper's Return' (Detroit Institute of Arts) in New York in 1851.

AMICA ID: MMA_.33.61
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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