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.
- George Caleb Bingham
- Mississippi Fisherman
- United States (Artist's nationality)
- c. 1850
- Oil on canvas
- 74.9 × 62.5 cm (29 1/2 × 24 5/8 in.)
- Gift of Jamee J. and Marshall Field