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Mississippi Fisherman

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.


c. 1850


George Caleb Bingham
American, 1811–1879

About this artwork

George Caleb Bingham portrayed a man quietly fishing in a secluded spot, delineating the figure and environs with controlled brushwork. Raised in Missouri, Bingham specialized in genre paintings of white working-class boatmen who facilitated the brisk movement of commercial goods along the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers in the mid-19th century. Here, the figure’s loose-fitting shirt, boots, and hat convey his role as a laborer in the area’s river economy.

Achieving a national reputation as an artist, Bingham also engaged in politics, holding positions in Missouri state government. During the 1850s he was a staunch advocate for the preservation of the Union and spoke out against slavery. Focusing on everyday activities that transpired along interregional waterways, Bingham reinforced the critical ties between west and east, north and south, amid a disquieted nation.


On View, Gallery 171


Arts of the Americas


George Caleb Bingham


Mississippi Fisherman


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

c. 1850


Oil on canvas


74.9 × 62.5 cm (29 1/2 × 24 5/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Jamee J. and Marshall Field

Reference Number


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