Friday, April 8, 2011

George Caleb Bingham

George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879). Genre Artist. Statesman. Professor. Best known for his painting “Fur Traders Descending the Missouri” and “The Jolly Flatboatmen.” Paternal grandson of a Methodist preacher, Rev. George & Louisa Vest Bingham, in Augusta Co., Virginia, George Caleb Bingham was born March 20, the second child of Henry Vest and Maria “Mary” Christina Amend Bingham.
In July of 1819, George emigrated with his family to Franklin (f. 1816), a village along Boon’s Lick Trail in Missouri and beginning point of the Santa Fe Trail. After his father died of malaria in 1823, his family moved once again to a farm across the river and surrendered Henry’s businesses in Franklin to pay debts. Mary, George’s mother, taught school. At age sixteen, George was apprenticed to Rev. Justinian Williams of Boonville, a cabinetmaker, and rode with him on his circuits. Occasionally Rev. Williams asked his young apprentice to preach for him.
Beginning his artistic career as a portrait painter, in a letter written to his mother in May of 1835, George mentioned that he hoped to paint Rev. John Lapsley Yantis’ portrait, a Presbyterian preacher in Liberty.
George was married three times, first to Sarah Elizabeth Hutchison (1819-1848) in September 1836, then in 1849 to Eliza Thomas (1829-1876), daughter of Rev. Dr. Robert Stewart Thomas, a Baptist; and finally, in 1878, to Martha “Mattie” A. Livingston Lykins (1824-1890), previously married to Dr. Johnston Lykins (1800-1876), a Baptist medical missionary. Bingham had 5 children; 4 sons; Isaac Newton (1837-1841), Horace (b.1841), Joseph Hutchinson (1848), James Rollins (bc.1861) and a daughter, Clara (b.1844).
Bingham died of cholera in Kansas City. His best friend, James Rollins, gave the eulogy and he was interred at Union Cemetery.

More to Read:
1. Letters of George Caleb Bingham to James S. Rollins. Edited by C.B. Rollins, Missouri Historical Review 32-33. (October 1937-July 1939).
2. Bingham: Fighting Artist. The Story of Missouri’s Immortal Painter, Patriot, Soldier and Statesman. By Lew Larkin. Burton Pub., KCMO., 1954. (Reprinted School of the Ozarks Press, Point Lookout, MO.; 1971)
3. Paintbox on the Frontier: The Life and Times of George Caleb Bingham. By Alberta Wilson Constant. 1974.
4. Jackson County Pioneers. By Pearl Wilcox. 1975.
5. George Caleb Bingham: Frontier Painter of Missouri. 1975.
6. Here Lies Kansas City: A Collection of Our City’s Notables and Their Final Resting Places. By Wilda and Hal Sandy. 1984
7. George Caleb Bingham: The Evolution of an Artist. E. Maurice Bloch.
8. George Caleb Bingham. By Shapiro, Groseclose, Johns, Nagel, & Wilmerding. 1990.
9. The Painting and Politics of George Caleb Bingham. By Nancy Rash. 1991.
10. George Caleb Gingham: Missouri’s Famed Painter and Forgotten Politician. By Paul C. Nagel. 2005.
11. Missouri: Day by Day. By Floyd C. Shoemaker, Editor. Mo State Historical Society, 1942.
12. Missouri Star: The Life and Times of Martha A. “Mattie” (Livingston) Lykins Bingham. Rose Ann Findlen, 2011.
14. Kansas City's  Police Historical Society
15. Findagrave #7096
Places to see in Mo:
1. George Caleb Bingham Art Festival, Arrow Rock
2. Bingham Cottage, Arrow Rock
3. Arrow Rock State Historic Site, Van Buren Street, Arrow Rock
4. The State Historical Society of Missouri’s George Caleb Bingham Gallery, 1020 Lowry Street, Columbia
5. St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis.
6. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, ( portrait of Roma Johnson Wornall), 4525 Oak St, Kansas City, MO
7. Union Prison Collapse Marker, 14th and Grand Ave., Kansas City, MO.
8. Stand on the southwest corner of Third and Main Street where Bingham’s studio once was located. Kansas City.
9. Bingham-Waggoner Estate, 313 West Pacific, Independence.
10. Santa Fe Trail Trailhead, 130 E. Broadway. New Franklin
11. Union Cemetery, 227 East 28th Terr. Kansas City. 64108
12. Order No. 11 Marker Memorial, Bates County Courthouse Lawn, 1 North Delaware, Butler, MO.