George Caleb Bingham
American Artist

Please Note: By choice, Fine Art Investigations is not associated in any way with the Bingham Online Catalogue Raisonné nor its sponsor, the Riverbank Foundation.


The George Caleb Bingham Chronology is based on the work of previous Bingham biographers: John Francis McDermott, George Caleb Bingham: River Portraitist (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1959);  E. Maurice Bloch, The Paintings of George Caleb Bingham: A Catalogue Raisonne (University of Missouri Press, 1986); and on expanded research. 

To see the chronology in historical context click here.

Bingham's Life
As an itinerant portrait artist, George Caleb Bingham paints in Arrow Rock and Columbia, Missouri
January – April – in Columbia, Missouri; May – travels to Liberty, Missouri, but delayed two weeks en route by a form of small pox that caused him to his hair (he will wear a wig the rest of his life), Liberty, paints portraits; November – opens a studio in St. Louis
In Saint Louis; 14 April – marries Sarah Elizabeth Hutchison in Boonville, Missouri; by November – returns to St. Louis; travels to Natchez, Mississippi
In Natchez, Mississippi, 26 March – son Isaac Newton born; 27 May – in Columbia, painting portraits; 27 July – purchases lot in Arrow Rock where GCB eventually builds a home and studio for himself and his family
In Columbia through February; March and early June, studies in Philadelphia and probably visits New York City and introduces himself at the Apollo Gallery; July, August – in Missouri; September – exhibits Western Boatmen Ashore at the Apollo Gallery in New York City; November, December – paints portraits in Missouri
In central Missouri; Mid-March – returns to St. Louis where he spends most of the year; 5 December – fire in St. Louis studio destroys paintings
January – in St. Louis; mid-February – in Fayette, Missouri – painting portraits; May – in Arrow Rock – paints political banner for the Saline County delegation to the state Whig convention; Mid-June – attends state Whig convention in Rocheport, Missouri; Autumn – after Whig victory of William Henry Harrison, moves family to Washington DC
13 March – son Newton dies; 15 March – son Horace born; April – August – paints portraits in Petersburg, Virginia; September – visits family home in Virginia; October – returns to Washington, DC
Throughout year – GCB paints portraits in Washington, DC.; November – Elizabeth and Horace travel to Boonville, Missouri
January – May – paints portraits in Washington, DC; Elizabeth and Horace return in March; June – visits Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts exhibition; July – December – paints portraits in Washington, DC
January – May – in Washington, DC; September – Bingham family resides in Boonville, Missouri; October – GCB attends state Whig convention in Boonville; November & December – in Jefferson City painting political portraits
January – paints in St. Louis and in central Missouri; 14 March – daughter Clara born; 4 June – exhibits paintings in St. Louis; sells home in Arrow Rock, convinced that though he loves the region, he cannot support his family there; returns to St. Louis
June – nominated by Whig party as candidate for state legislator from Saline County; August 14 – wins popular vote by three ballots defeated; 20 November – electoral opponent Erasmus Sappington contests vote in the legislature; 12 December – through Democratic party chicanery, seat given to Sappington
In Arrow Rock and St. Louis, Missouri
April – son Joseph Hutchison born; 14 April – GCB participates in Whig convention in Boonville; July – accepts nomination to run for state legislature; 11 August – wins election to state legislature; 24 November – wife Elizabeth dies of consumption; GCB considers resigning seat, but J.S. Rollins convinces him serving will take his mind off his grief; December – son Joseph dies; late December; Legislature appoints GCB to Committee on Federal Relations
January/ February in Jefferson City; Spring – opens a studio at the Western Art Union in Cincinnati; July – August – paints in New York City and travels to Philadelphia; October 5, in Liberty, Missouri; 2 December 1849 – marries Elizabeth Keller Thomas in Columbia, Missouri
January – November – works in Columbia and St. Louis; November – travels to New York to submit paintings to the American Art-Union
January – April – paints in New York; Early May – returns to Arrow Rock; May – mother, Mary Bingham, dies in Arrow Rock; June – November – GCB paints at a studio in Columbia, Missouri, but also travels to Boonville, Independence, Kansas City, and Liberty; November – St. Louis
January – April – paints in St. Louis, Columbia, and Jefferson City, Missouri; 19 April – attends state Whig convention in St. Louis; May – in Boonville and Columbia, Missouri; 3 June – serves as delegate to the Whig national convention in Baltimore; travels to Philadelphia and New York; 27 June – arrives in Philadelphia to make arrangements for John Sartain to engrave The County Election; 28 October – returns to Columbia; November and December – in Glasgow and St. Louis
January and February – in St. Louis; 10 March – travels to New Orleans and Kentucky to exhibit and to sell subscriptions for prints of The County Election; 15 September – travels to New York and then Philadelphia to direct John Sartain’s engraving of The County Election; 30 September, travels to New York, views the Crystal Palace exhibit; then travels to Philadelphia where he stays through the winter to work with Sartain.
January – August – GCB in Philadelphia; September – December – in Missouri
Late January – GCB returns to Philadelphia; late in June – returns to Missouri; paints portraits in the Independence/ Liberty /Kansas City region; Mid-September – works in Columbia, Missouri; 14 November – in Jefferson City painting and involved with Whig politics; 1 December – speaks before the Missouri legislature
January – May – in Columbia; 6 May – arrives in St. Louis; 2 June – in Louisville, Kentucky; Summer – GCB in Boston and Philadelphia preparing historic portraits for Missouri capitol; 14 August – travels with family to France; 1 November – arrives in Düsseldorf
In Dusseldorf
In Dusseldorf
12-14 January – attends the National Art Association meeting in Washington, DC; late January – delivers completed Washington and Jefferson portraits to Jefferson City. During acceptance ceremony, gives speech in support of Union; February – April – travels to St. Louis, Columbia, Jefferson City, Kansas City, St. Joseph, Brunswick, and St. Louis, Missouri; Early June – sails for Europe; 12 June 1859 – Father-in-law Robert Stewart Thomas dies in Kansas City; by September – Bingham family has returned to the United States; December – Baptist Female College (later Stephens College) in Columbia appoints Eliza Bingham chair of the music department
12-13 January, attends National Art Association meeting in Washington, D.C.; early March – returns to Columbia, Missouri; late April – St. Louis; mid-September – in Lexington, Kansas City, and Independence, Missouri
7 January – in Jefferson City to set up portraits of Clay and Jackson in the House of Representatives; 12 January – older brother Matthias Amend Bingham dies near Houston, Texas; 6 March – GCB travels to Harris County, Texas, to settle Matthias’s estate; Mid-May – returns to Kansas City; 29 June – GCB volunteers with the U.S. Volunteer Reserve Corps, Van Horn’s Battalion and is given rank of captain; 21 September – son James Rollins Bingham born
4 January – Governor Hamilton Gamble appoints Bingham state treasurer; family moves to Jefferson City
In Jefferson City as State Treasurer of Missouri
10 June – daughter Clara marries Thomas Benton King; August – GCB purchases home in Independence, Missouri
GCB completes term of office as state treasurer; buys a home in Independence, Missouri
1 June – GCB announces candidacy for Congress from Sixth District; 6 October – loses congressional bid at nominating convention
In Independence; completes equestrian portrait of General Lyon in late March
28 May – GCB serves as elector at Democratic state convention
March – in Columbia; October 1 – Independence voters elect GCB as school board director; Son Horace leaves for California and is never seen again
April – GCB sells home in Independence, Missouri; 6 May – moves to Kansas City and opens studio over Shannon Dry Goods Store at 3rd and Main
January – February – Jefferson City; March – August – in Kansas City; September – November – Columbia; November – Kansas City; Late December – Philadelphia with John Sartain about the engraving of Order No. 11
Late January – GCB in Philadelphia supervising John Sartain as he engraves Order No. 11; 10 May – in Kansas City selling prints of Order No. 11; July – in Baltimore; August – October – vacationing in Colorado with wife Eliza; 20 November – in Kansas City and surrounding towns painting portraits
April – GCB in Houston and Austin, Texas, completing settlement of brother Matthias’ estate; May – Kansas City; July -Marshall and Arrow Rock, Missouri; August – in Kansas City; 3 September in Columbia, Missouri; September – in Louisville, Kentucky – exhibits Order No. 11 and Washington Crossing the Delaware at Louisville Industrial Exposition; October – in Kansas City painting portraits, with so much work that he cancels a planned trip to New York
11 May – state authorities appoint GCB president of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners; 31 July – accepts Democratic candidacy for Congress from 8th District; 24 August – withdraws name from congressional race; September – attends Democratic convention in Kansas City; December – in St. Louis exhibiting The Puzzled Witness
January – Governor Charles H. Hardin appoints GCB Adjutant-General of Missouri; 19 January – GCB in Jefferson City; February – in Clay County, Missouri – investigating the Pinkerton attack in on the Samuels family: mother, stepfather, and half-brother of Frank and Jesse James; March – April – in Stone County, Missouri enforcing judicial order in an area overtaken by the Ku Klux Klan. After his visit, vigilantism ends
23 February – April – in Washington, DC to present war claims for state; May and June – in Jefferson City; October 24 – resigns position of Adjutant-General due to ill health; 3 November – Eliza Thomas Bingham dies at Fulton State Mental Hospital
19 January – University of Missouri board of curators appoints GCB professor of art; March – state legislature authorizes GCB to paint historical picture of Jackson before Civil Court of Louisiana; June – GCB appointed professor of art of University of Missouri’s newly established School of Art; July – September – GCB in Boonville and Columbia painting portraits; November – in Kansas City
January – St. Louis and Kansas City; February and March – in Washington, D.C.; May – visits daughter Clara (Mrs. Thomas Benton King) and her family in Stephensville, Texas; 18 June – Kansas City – marries Mrs. Martha Livingston Lykins; Summer – honeymoons in Colorado; November 8 – Kansas City – Robert E. Lee Monument Association appoints GCB a commissioner; 21 November – GCB arrives in Richmond, Virginia for Lee Monument meeting; 6 December – in Columbia and Kansas City
28 February – ill with pneumonia and unable to give promised lecture on art at University of Missouri; 1 March – J. S. Rollins reads speech; 7 July – George Caleb Bingham dies of cholera morbus in Kansas City