Recto and Verso: Mary Elizabeth Hickman Rollins

Recto – George Caleb Bingham Mary Elizabeth Hickman was born in Franklin, Missouri, on October 10, 1820, the middle child of the three children of James E. Hickman and Sophia Woodson Hickman. The Bingham family arrived in Franklin from Virginia shortly before her birth. James Hickman and George Caleb Bingham’s father, Henry Vest Bingham, invested in some of the same …

Recto and Verso: The Dunnicas

Recto – George Caleb Bingham Early Years William Franklin Dunnica was a 30-year-old merchant in Glasgow, Chariton County, Missouri, in 1837 when George Caleb Bingham painted the recently re-discovered portraits of him and of his 17-year-old wife, Martha Jane Shackelford. A year later, the Missouri militia called Dunnica and other men from Chariton County to neighboring Carroll County where long-term …

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. …