“The American Artist” is an Emmy Award-winning biographical docu-drama about George Caleb Bingham. His childhood was spent in the American frontier along the Missouri River. A self-taught painter, his natural talent, relentless ambition, and strategic friendships propelled him into the world of politics. He was a successful artist, politician, and family man … but it all fell apart. His home, family, career, and life’s work were all but lost as the American Civil War split his world in two. A century after his death, George Caleb Bingham’s work was not only rediscovered, it is celebrated as a National Treasure. His paintings, his politics, his life are a testament to his perseverance, ingenuity, and unwavering determination. An America, long since forgotten, is preserved through his life’s work.

“I shall be content to pursue a quiet painter's life

while the world jogs on as it pleases."

~ George Caleb Bingham

Produced by the Emmy Award-winning documentary team at Wide Awake Films in partnership with the Friends of Arrow Rock (Bingham’s hometown in Missouri), this hour long documentary narrated by Emmy nominated actor, Keith David, and with music from Grammy award winning cellist, Yo Yo Ma,  takes the viewer an hour-long journey unveiling Bingham’s life with edge-of-your-seat dramatic craftsmanship, combined with interviews from some of the top American art curators from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Saint Louis Art Museum and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. It also examines many of his best paintings all lovingly filmed from original canvases in 4K ultra-high-definition. Three years in the making, The American Artist argues the case for Bingham as one of the pre-eminent American painters of his - or any - generation, right up with the likes of Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, Norman Rockwell and Thomas Hart Benton.   



Wide Awake Films is honored to collaborate with the Friends of Arrow Rock to produce this feature-length documentary about the life and times of George Caleb Bingham. 


This film is made possible by the generous donation of the Pillsbury Foundation in Saint Louis, Missouri. 


The knowledge and research of many historical experts has contributed to the making of this film. We'd like to thank Dr. Joan Stack, curator for the State Historical Society of Missouri, for her invaluable contribution.