Prominent Portrait in Executive Mansion Discovered to be Piece by Artist George Caleb Bingham
RICHMOND – The Virginia Executive Mansion and the Library of Virginia announced today that a painting owned by the Executive Mansion, a favorite period highlight in the Mansion, has been confirmed to be a painting by Missouri's first artist, George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879). The painting, commonly referred to as "Portrait of A Boy and His Dog," has been owned by Virginia's Executive Mansion since it was deeded in 1977 by the estate of Martha Spottswood of Petersburg, Virginia. The George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne Supplement of Paintings & Drawings has confirmed the authentication.
The portrait which is now known to be of Colin Dunlop, a man who was born in Petersburg in 1836 and was killed in battle during the Civil War in 1864, was recently recognized by Richmond art and antiques dealer Alexander Reeves. Reeves suggested during a private tour that the portrait resembled other works that he had seen by George Caleb Bingham.
In March 2011 this attribution was confirmed by Fred R. Kline, Director and Editor of the George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne Supplement, Ltd. in Santa Fe, NM. In a letter to Tom Camden, Director for Special Collections and Acting State Art Curator for the Library of Virginia, Kline states, "There is no doubt in my mind that Portrait of Colin Dunlop and His Dog was clearly painted by George Caleb Bingham in all likelihood during six months of 1841 when he was in Petersburg, Virginia and notably engaged in painting portraits. This is a delightful, memorable, and endearing portrait of a boy and his dog, Bingham's first in this rare genre for him. Colin with his red-striped blouse and his striking, seemingly protective dog on a chain are doubtless made from life. The portrait has become one of my personal favorites. As it was previously unrecorded, we would classify it as a new discovery-and one worth celebrating at that, and most auspiciously during the Bingham Bicentennial."
George Caleb Bingham has a Virginia birthright; he was born in Augusta County, Virginia in 1811 and was eight years old when he moved with his family to Franklin, Missouri in 1819. The vast majority of Bingham's over 500 recorded paintings are not signed, including famous ones like "Fur Traders Descending the Missouri." Unfortunately Bingham also neglected record-keeping, allowing many paintings to remain unidentified, probably more than any other American master. The new Catalogue Raisonne project began in 2005 as a scholarly enterprise directed and edited by art historian and Bingham specialist Fred R. Kline with an advisory board consisting of renowned Bingham biographer and Missourian Dr. Paul Nagel and noted Washington, DC art historian, lecturer and author William Kloss.
Click here to view the portrait.
Additional contact for this release:
George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne Supplement, Ltd.
Contact: Fred R. Kline
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