Wide Awake Films is teaming up with the Friends of Arrow Rock to chronicle the life and times of Missouri native and self-taught painter George Caleb Bingham.
During his 45-year career, Bingham became known throughout the United States as "The Missouri Artist" for his portrait depictions of well-known Missourians of the 19th century. Bingham's paintings and drawings offer a genuine and first-hand account of an artist who lived and observed daily life in one of the newly settled territories of the West. In his later years, Bingham moved beyond merely recording life and began directly affecting it through numerous appointments in state and local politics. Today, Bingham's realistic paintings continue to allow the public at large to catch a storied glimpse of the 19th century world.
Production is already underway. We've captured on-camera interviews with art historians and curators across the country, including Betsy Kornhauser of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Melissa Wolfe of Saint Louis Art Museum, Stephanie Fox-Knappe of Kansas City's Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, as well as Missouri historian Dr. Joan Stack.
From the beginning of time, water has attracted humans for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s obtained for transportation, industry, eating and drinking, or as a keystone of community development, water in its many forms continues to inspire. The 19th century Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham dedicated a number of his works to the depiction of the life and lore of the rivers and byways of Missouri, following in the tradition of artistic illustrations of water recorded over hundreds of years.
Right now, 16 river paintings and 50 drawings from George Caleb Bingham’s collection are on exhibit in Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas. Bingham’s major river works showcase the role that water played in the 19th century as a means of transportation and trade as well as how the river shaped the lives of those who lived around it including the Osage Indians, French traders and the early settlers of the American West.
The art exhibit will feature interactive elements as well as an opportunity for museum visitors to craft their own Bingham River painting by tracing the artist’s iconic figures onto canvas. Modern context on the influence of water on a community will be showcased in a joint exhibition called Meet Me at the Trinity, a photography presentation by Chicago-based landscape photographer Terry Evans. The photographs depict how the community of Fort Worth interacts with and plays on the Trinity River, an urban stream in Fort Worth. For a sneak preview of the exhibit, see Amon Carter’s video, below: