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The Metropolitan Museum presented the first large exhibition of George Caleb Bingham in 25 years.

One of the main American genre artists of the 19th century, George Caleb Bingham is known for his remarkable display of borderline life along Missouri and Mississippi. The Metropolitan Museum in New York presented the exposition “Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River” - the first major exhibition of the painter in more than a quarter of a century.The exhibition for the first time brings together 16 iconic paintings of rivers. This is an outstanding chronicle of the transformation of western America and the creation of a sustainable image of the West in the minds of Americans.Missouri Boatboats George Caleb Bingham About forty preparatory drawings of Bingham are exhibited here - fur traders and boatmen during work and leisure. These sketches give an unprecedented insight into the creative process of the artist.
  • George Caleb Bingham, "The Boatman" (drawing for the painting "Boatmen in Missouri")
  • George Caleb Bingham, drawing for the painting "Fur Traders on the Missouri River"
The highlight of the exhibition is one of the most famous early masterpieces of the painter - "Fur Traders on the Missouri River" (1845) from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum. In this classically balanced, strictly horizontal composition, the French hunter slowly guides his canoe down the river; his son - half Indian - bent over the load. Sitting on the bow of the boat - no, not a cat, as it may seem - a bear cub. The magnificent choice and conciseness of the compositional elements creates on the canvas an amazing sense of silence."Fur traders on the Missouri River" by George Caleb Bingham 1845, 97 × 47 cm This picture was originally called the French Trader, the son of half-breed, reflecting the real situation when European hunters married Indian women. However, the American Art Union considered the name potentially controversial, so before the first exhibition it was changed.Bear cub, sitting on the nose of a canoe in the painting "Fur traders on the Missouri River", is easy to take for a cat

George Caleb Bingham (1811 - 1879) was the first major American artist west of the Mississippi. He achieved success in two ways - as a painter and as a politician who served in elective positions for four decades. His family moved from Virginia, where Bingham was born, to the territory of Missouri in 1819, several years before it was transformed into a state. Throughout the 1830s and 1840s, Missouri was a border area, a starting point for explorers, adventurers, and pioneers heading west.

Being largely self-taught, Bingham preferred to develop his drawing skills, rather than relying on academic instructions. He began his career as a wandering portrait painter, traveling the districts along the Missouri River and painting middle-class Americans.This author's remark to the painting "Fur Traders on the Missouri River" was written in 1951 and is called "The Return of Hunters"

After that, the artist focused on the image of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, glorifying their exceptional importance as the main transport arteries and factors of the country's cultural and economic transformations. He also collected and described a wide variety of characters from the American West — boatmen, card players, porters, violinists, fur traders, raiders, tired travelers, and others. With his paintings, he contributed to the romantic perception of the West primarily among citizens in the East.

The exhibition will feature one of the most recognizable paintings by George Caleb Bingham - “Merry Boatmen” (1846). It harmoniously depicts the atmosphere in which the company of boatmen plays and dances while drifting down the river in a flat-bottomed boat full of goods.Happy boatmenGeorge Caleb Bingham 1846, 123.2 × 96.8 cm The exhibition gives the most complete picture of the working methods and techniques of Bingham. Visitors have a unique opportunity to see preliminary sketches in conjunction with already completed paintings. Experts for the first time managed to look under the paint layer. Studies have confirmed that the artist often translated the drawings on the prepared canvas, as indicated by the combination marks.John J. Egan, “Panorama of the grand grandeur of the Mississippi River” (Scene 20 of 25), approx. 1850Accompanied work, “Panorama of the grand grandeur of the Mississippi River” - the last remaining panorama created in 1850 by another river singer, John Joseph Egan, is displayed on a digital monitor in slow scrolling (the total length of all its scenes is 106 meters). The exhibition will last until September 20, 2015.