Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Fur Traders Descending the Missouri

Artist:
George Caleb Bingham (American, Augusta County, Virginia 1811–1879 Kansas City, Missouri)
Date:
1845
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
29 x 36 1/2 in. (73.7 x 92.7 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Morris K. Jesup Fund, 1933
Accession Number:
33.61
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 758
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.
American Art-Union, New York, 1845; by lottery to Robert S. Bunker, Mobile, Alabama; his daughter, Josephine (Mrs. Alphonse) du Mont; her daughter, Lina du Mont, Point Clear, Alabama; with E. Herndon Smith, New York, as agent, 1932; with John Wise Ltd, New York, 1933
Related Objects

Mother and Son

Artist: Thomas Sully (American, Horncastle, Lincolnshire 1783–1872 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Date: 1840 Medium: Oil on canvas Accession: 14.126.5 On view in:Gallery 733

De Witt Clinton

Artist: Samuel F. B. Morse (American, Charlestown, Massachusetts 1791–1872 New York) Date: 1826 Medium: Oil on canvas Accession: 09.18 On view in:Gallery 726

Ernesta (Child with Nurse)

Artist: Cecilia Beaux (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1855–1942 Gloucester, Massachusetts) Date: 1894 Medium: Oil on canvas Accession: 65.49 On view in:Gallery 768

The Parthenon

Artist: Frederic Edwin Church (American, Hartford, Connecticut 1826–1900 New York) Date: 1871 Medium: Oil on canvas Accession: 15.30.67 On view in:Gallery 760

View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow

Artist: Thomas Cole (American, Lancashire 1801–1848 Catskill, New York) Date: 1836 Medium: Oil on canvas Accession: 08.228 On view in:Gallery 759