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Art Museum Opens George Caleb Bingham Exhibition
The Saint Louis Art Museum is presenting "Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River," an exhibition that for the first time in decades brings together the river paintings and drawings of Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham, through May 17. Photo credit: George Caleb Bingham, American, 1811-1879; Boatmen on the Missouri, 1846; oil on canvas; 25 x 30 inches; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller III 1979.7.15
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), February 22, 2015 - The Saint Louis Art Museum has opened Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River, an exhibition that for the first time in decades brings together the river paintings and drawings of George Caleb Bingham.
Dubbed "the Missouri artist," Bingham (1811-1879) moved to the state as a child and, by the 1840s, began painting the scenes of western life for which he is now famous. Through 22 paintings and 50 drawings, Navigating the West focuses on Bingham's iconic depictions of frontier life on and along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.
Navigating the West is the most extensive and ambitious of three coinciding exhibitions exploring multiple visions of landscape and the river in 19th-century American art.
Beyond the genre subjects, the exhibition also includes Bingham's early portraits featuring rivers, allowing for an examination of the ways in which proximity to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers shaped his career and art production, even before he turned to his river workers.
Two of Bingham's river compositions - In a Quandary and The Jolly Flatboatmen - also were circulated as prints. These prints allowed Bingham's work to reach a much wider audience than the paintings ever could. Impressions of these prints will be included in the exhibition as well.
Navigating the West also includes the recently restored Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley. Painted by artist John J. Egan around 1850, at the same time as Bingham's masterworks, the 348-foot-long Panorama also depicts life on and along the western rivers.
The exhibition runs through May 17. Ticket prices for the general public are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $6 for children ages 6 to 12. Children under the age of 6 are free. Members receive free tickets to Navigating the West, and the exhibition is free for all visitors on Fridays. (Tickets purchased or reserved through MetroTix will be assessed a service fee.)
Navigating the West is co-organized by the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the exhibition will travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in June.
The East Building, designed by Sir David Chipperfield, at the Saint Louis Art Museum, features floor-to-ceiling windows and 23 monumental panels of dark polished concrete, with highlights of Missouri river aggregates. See related story: Saint Louis Art Museum Unveils Contemporary East Building
The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the leading art museums with more than 100 galleries. The building was designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert as the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1904 World's Fair in Forest Park. Standing atop Art Hill, it is the "crown" jewel" of the 1,370-acre park. The Grand Basin is the lake at the foot of Art Hill and served as the focal point of the 1904 World's Fair.
Crusader King Louis IX in front of the Saint Louis Art Museum
The Museum's collections feature more than 30,000 art treasures from ancient times to the present. Highlights include art of the Renaissance, masterpieces of Impressionism, American European Art, Asian art, Period Rooms, the Egyptian mummy, and world-renowned collections of pre-Columbian and German Expressionist art.
The Museum provided $10 million for improvements to Art Hill and nearby areas including: reconstruction of Fine Arts Drive in the front of the Museum between the front stairway and the statue of St. Louis; the street and the area around the landmark statue is now paved with granite; construction of two curved, tree-lined walkways, or promenades, extending about 250 yards in each direction from the statue of St. Louis to the existing circular parking areas; construction of scenic overlooks near the expanded circular parking areas; landscaping of the two promenades and of the entire area with ornamental trees and decorative lighting; and new parking adjacent to the scenic overlooks.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm; Friday, 10:00 am-9:00 pm; Closed Monday. For more information, call 314-721-0072. Admission to the Saint Louis Art Museum is free. Admission to featured exhibitions is free on Friday.
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