(b Augusta County, VA, 20 March 1811; d Kansas
City, MO, 7 July 1879).
American painter. Raised in rural Franklin County, MO, Bingham
experienced from an early age the scenes on the major western
rivers, the Missouri and the Mississippi, that inspired his
development as a major genre painter. During his apprenticeship to a
cabinetmaker, he met the itinerant portrait painter Chester Harding,
who turned Bingham’s attention to art. Teaching himself to draw and
compose from art instruction books and engravings, the only
resources available in the frontier territories, Bingham began
painting portraits as early as 1834. The style of these works is
provincial but notable for its sharpness, clear light and competent
handling of paint.
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