Category Archives: Stories Behind George Caleb Bingham Portraits

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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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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Stories Behind the Portraits: Frances Booker George

Portrait If you are already familiar with the portraits of George Caleb Bingham, especially Mary Ann Gilliss (Mrs. Benoist Troost) at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, then you know at first glance that George Caleb Bingham … Continue reading

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George Caleb Bingham’s father-in-law, Reverend Robert Stewart Thomas (1805-1859), was “a tall man…above six feet in height, but a stoop… diminished his stature … His limbs were not fleshy, in fact, they were inclined to be lean – and though … Continue reading

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Stories Behind the Portraits: Eliza Thomas Bingham

George Caleb Bingham’s portrait of his second wife, Eliza Thomas Bingham (1828-1876), went up for auction this fall. I did not mention it publicly because I did not want to be seen as shilling for it. Perhaps I should have. … Continue reading

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Stories Behind the Portraits: David McClanahan Hickman

After ten years of searching, not long ago I located a “lost” portrait by George Caleb Bingham, Captain David McClanahan Hickman.   John Francis McDermott first noted the existence of the 30 x 25 inch artwork in 1959 in his book, George Caleb Bingham, River … Continue reading

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Stories Behind the Portraits: Sallie Rodes Rollins

In 1845, Dr. Anthony Wayne Rollins established a scholarship for young people from Boone County, Missouri, both men and women. What would cause a man of the 19th century to include such a stipulation in his will?  How could his perception of … Continue reading

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