Rediscovered Bingham Portraits: The Dunnicas, Part 3

The Correction Introduction This is the third of four blogs about the re-discovered George Caleb Bingham portraits of William Franklin Dunnica and Martha Jane Shackelford Dunnica. The work of E. Maurice Bloch (1925-1989), the world’s acknowledged expert on artist George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), is awe-inspiring. At the University of California Los Angeles, where he was a professor of art history, he …

Rediscovered Bingham Portraits: The Dunnicas, Part 2

Rediscovered Bingham Portraits: Connoisseurship Introduction Provenance and art historical research strongly suggested that family lore was true:  George Caleb Bingham painted the heirloom portraits of William Franklin Dunnica and his wife, Martha Jane Shackelford. (See Rediscovered Bingham Portraits: The Dunnicas, Part 1). Would connoisseurship confirm or deny that the portrait pair were rediscovered paintings by Bingham? Context According to art historical research, Bingham painted …

Rediscovered Bingham Portraits: The Dunnicas, Part 1

Rediscovered Bingham Portraits: Art Historical Documentation Introduction Several years ago, images of a pair of antebellum portraits arrived in my inbox: William Franklin Dunnica and Mary Jane Shackelford (Mrs. William F. Dunnica) of Glasgow (Chariton), Missouri. I knew instantly that George Caleb Bingham was the artist. But, as a professional art investigator, I knew the accuracy of a “blink” moment always needs to be tested. …

Rediscovered Bingham Portraits: Louisa Ann Conwell

Louisa Watkins is the fourth post-Civil War posthumous portrait I have seen that depicts  a person George Caleb Bingham may never have met or barely knew. To create the portrait, he had to rely on a photograph. The others are Sarah Ann (Sallie) Elliott (Mrs. Henry A. Neill), Julia George, and Julia’s brother, Richard Booker George. All four subjects sit facing forward, in the …

Rediscovered Bingham Portraits: Julia George

One spring a few years ago, an auction house on the east coast advertised a George Caleb Bingham portrait for sale, Julia George.  Not listed in E. Maurice Bloch’s The Paintings of George Caleb Bingham: A Catalogue Raisonné (University of Missouri Press, 1986), and with drab colors and a lifeless face, I questioned whether the artist of the sad young woman was actually Bingham. …

Stories Behind the Portraits: John A. Trigg

In the mid-1940s, as art historian E. Maurice Bloch researched paintings of George Caleb Bingham, he twice wrote the owner of the portrait John. A. Trigg (1811-1872). Bloch knew that Trigg’s first wife was the artist’s first cousin, Rebecca Bingham (1821-after 1850). He knew that the couple lived in Missouri, in Blackwater Township, not far from the home of the artist and his  first wife, …