Category Archives: George Caleb Bingham

Verso Stories: Supporting Actors

What are we to make of these verso stories of the lives of people who survive in name only, but whose labor earned the wealth that allowed the recto subjects to afford a painted portrait?  Continue reading

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Stories Behind the Portraits: The Dunnicas

Discovering History through Art Historians usually add a painting as an illustration. Fine Art Investigations uses portraits as an entry point to history.  An example is the stories behind the recently re-discovered portraits of the Dunnicas. The first part of their … Continue reading

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Rediscovered Bingham Portraits: The Dunnicas, Part 3

The work of E. Maurice Bloch (1925-1989), the world’s acknowledged expert on artist George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), is awe-inspiring. At the University of California Los Angeles, where he was a professor of art history, he was known for his “meticulous scholarship and connoisseurship.” Without the aid of the Internet, and for most of his research, not even a computer, he compiled a wealth of information. But a major mistake needs to be corrected. Continue reading

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Rediscovered Bingham Portraits: The Dunnicas, Part 2

Provenance and art historical research strongly suggested that family lore was true:  George Caleb Bingham painted the heirloom portraits of William Franklin Dunnica and his wife, Martha Jane Shackelford. What Continue reading

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Rediscovered Bingham Portraits: The Dunnicas, Part 1

The logical starting point for researching the authenticity of the portraits was, and is,  E. Maurice Bloch’s Paintings of George Caleb Bingham: A Catalogue Raisonné, but in this case there was a problem to be solved.
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Stories Behind the Portraits: Vestine Porter

Q. “In old portraits, why aren’t people smiling?” A.    (1) They wanted to look honorable and serious, and definitely, not like fool. (2) They had bad teeth. Times and attitudes changed, and people like John King Stark, husband of George … Continue reading

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George Washington Bingham

George Caleb Bingham remembered his paternal grandfather as “a tall and white-headed gentleman, overflowing with the milk of human kindness.”  Was he? The first known record of George Caleb Bingham’s paternal grandfather is Hanover County, Virginia’s 1782 census: George Bingham, household of two. Those two people were George, 29, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and his bride, the former Louisa Vest, 21, who was pregnant at the time. Continue reading

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The Puzzled Witness

With his last genre work, The Puzzled Witness, George Caleb Bingham placed himself at center stage, creating a painting that is both political and personal Continue reading

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