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: