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Title: Jolly Flatboatmen in Port
Date: 1857
Artist: George Caleb Bingham
American, 1811–1879
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions:
47 1/4 x 69 5/8 in. (120 x 176.8 cm)
framed: 61 1/8 x 83 3/4 x 5 3/8 in. (155.3 x 212.7 x 13.7 cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object Number: 123:1944
Place made: Düsseldorf, Germany
Place depicted: Mississippi River, United States
Current Location: On View, Gallery 336
Notes:
This painting depicts a flatboat docked at a wharf in St. Louis, where boatmen amuse themselves with homespun entertainment. The revelry is so lively that another flatboat has pulled alongside to observe it. George Caleb Bingham has organized the crowd in a pyramid, with the smiling dancer waving his red handkerchief at its apex. Though early 19th-century writers described flatboatmen as violent, rambunctious individuals living on the margins of society, Bingham’s rosy-cheeked river workers appear more mischievous than threatening
Signed: unsigned
Provenance
- 1865
George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), Düsseldorf, Germany; Washington, D.C., U.S.A.; Kansas City, MO; Jefferson City, MO [1]

1865 -
John How (1813-1885), St. Louis, MO, purchased from the artist [2]

- 1879
John H. Beach, St. Louis, MO [3]

1879 - 1944
St. Louis Mercantile Library Association, St. Louis, MO, gift of John H. Beach [4]

1944 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association [5]


Notes:
The main source for this provenance is Bloch's catalogue raisonné, the 1986 edition, cat. no. 301 [Bloch, E. Maurice. "The Paintings of George Caleb Bingham: A Catalogue Raisonné." Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1986]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] According to the Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the Saint Louis Mercantile Library, George Caleb Bingham owned "Jolly Flatboatmen in Port" in 1862, when he placed the painting, as well as his "Stump Speaking" (43:2001), "The County Election" (124:1944), and "The Verdict of the People" (45:2001), on indefinite loan to the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association ["Seventeenth Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association: January 13, 1863." St. Louis: M'Kee & Fishback, Printers and Binders, 1863, p. 18].

[2] The annual report of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association for 1865 indicated that "Jolly Flatboatmen in Port" and three other paintings lent by Bingham (124:1944, 43:2001, 45:2001) were now the property of the O'Fallon Polytechnic Institute and would be moved there upon completion of its new building. However, the report for the year 1867 states that John How, former St. Louis mayor and one of the founders of the Institute, was the actual owner of the paintings. ["Twentieth Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association." St. Louis: R.P. Studley and Co., 1866, p. 22; "Twenty-second Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association." St. Louis: R.P. Studley & Co., 1868, p. 14].

[3] John H. Beach gave "Jolly Flatboatmen in Port" to the St. Louis Mercantile Library along with several other paintings by Bingham (124:1944, 43:2001, 45:2001). It is unclear how or when Beach acquired the four paintings ["Thirty-fourth Annual Report of the Board of Direction of the Saint Louis Mercantile Library." St. Louis: Printed for the Association, 1880, p. 18-19].

[4] See note [3].

[5] The Saint Louis Art Museum purchased "Jolly Flatboatmen in Port" and "The County Election" (124:1944) from the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association. Receipt dated November 9, 1944 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, November 2, 1944.



Exhibition History
Title: Loan Exhibition of the Drawings of George Caleb Bingham from the St. Louis Mercantile Library
Date: February 2 - March 2, 1963
Venue: M. Knoedler & Co., Inc.
Title: Works of Art in the St. Louis Mercantile Library (First Annual Exhibition of Paintings)
Date: October 1871
Venue: Saint Louis Mercantile Library Association
Title: A Souvenir of Romanticism in America
Venue: The Baltimore Museum of Art
Title: Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River
Venue: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Venue: Amon Carter Museum
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: First Annual Exhibition of the Western Academy of Art
Date: Tuesday, September 25, 1860 - Saturday, December 01, 1860
Venue: The Western Academy of Art
Title: George Caleb Bingham
Date: June 3 – June 30, 1934
Venue: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Title: The Thirty-Seventh Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
Date: Monday, April 23, 1860 - Saturday, June 16, 1860
Venue: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Title: Selection '75
Date: May 1975 – December 1975
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: American Heritage: An Exhibition of Paintings and Crafts
Date: March 7 – April 11, 1948
Venue: Denver Art Museum
Title: American Frontier Life: Early Western Painting and Prints
Date: June 12, 1987 - April 22, 1988
Venue: Buffalo Bill Historical Center
Venue: Amon Carter Museum
Venue: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Title: Bingham's Missouri
Date: September 26, 1975 - April 11, 1976
Venue: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Venue: Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art
Venue: Mark Twain Museum
Venue: Kent Library, Southeast Missouri State University
Venue: Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Missouri
Venue: Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri-Columbia
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: George Caleb Bingham 1811-1879
Date: October 19, 1967 - May 19, 1968
Venue: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Venue: University of California, Los Angeles
Venue: National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution
Title: George Caleb Bingham: Sesquicentennial Exhibition 1811-1961
Date: March 16, 1961 – June 30, 1961
Venue: William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Sculpture, Paintings, Coins & Other Objects of Art in the Halls of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association
Date: 1862
Venue: Saint Louis Mercantile Library Association
Title: George Caleb Bingham: The Missouri Artist 1811-1879
Date: January 30 - 1935
Venue: Museum of Modern Art, New York
Venue: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Title: Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Washington Art Association
Date: Thursday, February 09, 1860 - Monday, March 26, 1860
Venue: Washington Art Association
Title: The Great Decade in American Writing 1850-1860: Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, Whitman. Books and Manuscripts: With Paintings by Friends and Contemporaries of the Authors
Date: December 3 - 30, 1954
Venue: American Academy of Arts and Letters
Title: The River: Images of the Mississippi
Date: Sunday, October 03, 1976 - Sunday, January 09, 1977
Venue: Walker Art Center
Title: American Heroism
Date: August 6 - October 14, 2001
Venue: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
Title: Special Exhibition of the Paintings of George Caleb Bingham "The Missouri Artist"
Date: April 9 - 24, 1910
Venue: Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri-Columbia
Title: Second Exhibition of Art and Artists along the Mississippi
Date: April 3 - April 30, 1941
Venue: Figge Art Museum
Title: Paintings and Color Prints by George Caleb Bingham
Date: March 15 – April 15, 1934
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: George Caleb Bingham
Date: February 22 - September 30, 1990
Venue: National Gallery of Art
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Two Hundred Years of American Painting : assembled for the State Fair of Texas
Date: October 5 - November 4, 1946
Venue: The State Fair of Texas
Title: One Hundred Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition
Date: January 15 – March 13, 1955
Venue: Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
Venue: Biblioteca Nacional de España
Venue: Københavns Rådhus
Venue: Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum
Venue: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Venue: Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique
Title: Life in America
Date: March 4 – April 30, 1951
Venue: Denver Art Museum
Title: Focus George Caleb Bingham
Date: Tuesday, April 01, 1969 - Summer, 1969
Venue: City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Title: Mississippi Panorama, an exhibition of the life and landscape of the Father of Waters and its great tributary, the Missouri
Date: October 10, 1949 - September 1, 1950
Venue: City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Venue: William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art
Publication History
Title: American Views: Essays on American Art
Author: John Wilmerding
Title: Catalogue of the First Annual Exhibition of the Western Academy of Art
Year Published: 1860
Title: The Painting and Politics of George Caleb Bingham
Author: Nancy Rash
Title: Washington Correspondence
Periodical Title: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper
Edition: February 25, 1860
Year Published: 1860
Title: Artists on the Left: American Artists and the Communist Movement, 1926-1956
Author: Andrew Hemingway
Title: Pioneering Art Historian Elizabeth Johns Settles at Penn
Periodical Title: Penn Arts and Sciences
Edition: Summer
Year Published: 1990
Title: 200 Years of American Painting: Assembled for the State Fair of Texas
Publisher: Dallas Museum of Art
Title: Guide to the Sculpture, Paintings, Coins and Other Objects of Art in the Halls of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association
Publisher: Saint Louis Mercantile Library Association
Title: Painting American Frontiers: "Encounter" and the Borders of American Identity in Nineteenth-Century Art
Periodical Title: Perspective: Actualités de la Recherche en Histoire de L'Art
Year Published: 2013
Title: The Saint Louis Art Museum Handbook of the Collections
Editor: Mary Ann Steiner
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Handbook of the Collections: The City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: World's Columbian Exposition 1893: Official Catalogue. Part X. Department K. Fine Arts
Year Published: 1893
Title: The Drawings of George Caleb Bingham with a Catalogue Raisonné
Author: E. Maurice Bloch
Title: George Caleb Bingham
Periodical Title: Saint Louis Art Museum Magazine
Edition: March - April
Year Published: 1990
Title: The Paintings of George Caleb Bingham: A Catalogue Raisonné
Author: E. Maurice Bloch
Title: Bingham: The Artist and his Times
Author: E. Maurice Bloch
Title: George Caleb Bingham: The Artist as Social Historian
Periodical Title: American Quarterly
Author: John Demos
Title: George Caleb Bingham: The Evolution of an Artist / A Catalogue Raisonné
Author: E. Maurice Bloch
Title: Pudd'nhead Wilson and Other Tales
Author: Mark Twain
Title: That Wilder Image: The Paintings of America's Native School from Thomas Cole to Winslow Homer
Author: James Thomas Flexner
Title: The Great Decade in American Writing 1850-1860: Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, Whitman. Books and Manuscripts: With Paintings by Friends and Contemporaries of the Authors
Author: American Academy of Arts and Letters
Title: Tour des Musées des Beaux-Arts du Monde
Year Published: 2002
Title: America's History to 1877
Author: James A. Henretta
Author: W. Elliot Brownlee
Author: David Brody
Author: Susan Ware
Publisher: Dorsey Press
Title: Artists of the Old West
Author: John C. Ewers
Publisher: Promontory Press
Title: Lewis & Clark Tailor Made, Trail Worn: Army Life, Clothing, & Weapons of the Corps of Discovery
Author: Robert J. Moore Jr.
Author: Michael Haynes
Title: George Caleb Bingham
Periodical Title: The Magazine Antiques
Author: Michael E. Shapiro
Title: On a Scale that Competes with the World, The Art of Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz
Author: Robert L. Pincus
Title: American Art, History and Culture
Author: Wayne Craven
Title: Westward the Way
Editor: Perry T. Rathbone
Title: American Romantic Painting
Year Published: 1944
Title: George Caleb Bingham: Missouri Painter
Periodical Title: Humanities
Author: Susan R. Goodman
Title: Catalogue of the Works of Art in the St. Louis Mercantile Library: Exhibition of Paintings (First Annual)
Publisher: Saint Louis Mercantile Library Association
Title: A Pioneer Painter
Periodical Title: The American Illustrated Methodist Magazine
Edition: October
Year Published: 1902
Title: American Heritage: An Exhibition of Paintings and Crafts
Publisher: Denver Art Museum
Title: American Frontier Life: Early Western Painting and Prints
Editor: Alan Axelrod
Title: Currents of Change: Art and Life Along the Mississippi River, 1850-1861
Author: Jason T. Busch
Author: Christopher Monkhouse
Author: Janet L. Whitmore
Title: Synopsis of the Penburne Quintet
Periodical Title: Pennsylvania Folklife
Author: Leland D. Baldwin
Title: The Heritage of America
Year Published: 1994
Title: The Era of Good Feelings
Author: George Dangerfield
Title: American Painting of the Nineteenth Century: Realism, Idealism, and the American Experience
Author: Barbara Novak
Title: Second Exhibition of Art and Artists along the Mississippi
Year Published: 1941
Title: Digging "Stone Coal"
Periodical Title: Alabama Heritage
Author: Whitney R. Telle
Title: Community and Tradition: Conservative Perspectives on the American Experience
Editor: George W. Carey
Editor: Bruce Frohnen
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Title: America: The New World in 19th Century Painting
Editor: Stephan Koja
Publisher: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna
Title: "But I Forget That I am a Painter and Not a Politician" The Letters of George Caleb Bingham
Year Published: 2011
Title: Lost Horizons
Periodical Title: Texas Monthly
Edition: December
Year Published: 1987
Title: Catalogue of the Thirty-Seventh Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art
Publisher: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Title: Dutch Influences in American Painting
Periodical Title: Antiques Magazine
Author: Denis R. O'Neill
Title: O! Say Can You See, The Story of America Through Great Paintings
Year Published: 1970
Title: The Art of Nostalgia: Bingham, Boone, and the Developing West
Periodical Title: Gateway Heritage: The Quarterly Magazine of the Missouri Historical Society
Author: Malcolm J. Rohrbough
Title: The Dred Scott Case: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Law
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Title: Arcadian Waters and Wanton Seas: The Iconology of Waterscapes in Nineteenth-Century Transatlantic Culture
Author: Arne Neset
Title: Steamboats on the Mississippi
Author: Ralph K. Andrist
Author: C. Bradford Mitchell
Title: The Art-Makers of Nineteenth-Century America
Author: Russell Lynes
Title: Shows of Force: Power, Politics, and Ideology in Art Exhibitions
Author: Timothy Luke
Title: Abandoned New England: Landscape in the Works of Homer, Frost, Hopper, Wyeth, and Bishop
Author: Priscilla Paton
Title: The St. Louis Art Museum: Handbook of the Collections
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: American Encounters: Genre Painting And Everyday Life
Publisher: Terra Museum of American Art
Author: Peter John Brownlee
Title: Exposition and Fair: Catalogue of Paintings
Author: St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association
Title: The Washington Art Association: An Exhibition Record, 1856-1860
Periodical Title: Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C.
Author: Josephine C. Cobb
Title: Bank of America Donates George Caleb Bingham's "Election Series"
Periodical Title: Saint Louis Art Museum Magazine
Edition: January - March
Year Published: 2002
Title: It's Time To Resolve The Bingham Issue
Periodical Title: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Edition: Sunday, December 22
Year Published: 1974
Title: Current Exhibition
Periodical Title: Bulletin of the City Art Museum of St. Louis
Edition: March-April
Year Published: 1969
Title: Focus George Caleb Bingham
Author: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: What You See Is Not Necessarily What You Get: New Meaning in Images of the Old West
Periodical Title: The Magazine of Western History
Author: William Truettner
Author: Alexander Nemerov
Title: Exhibiting Contradiction: Essays on the Art Museum in the United States
Author: Alan Wallach
Title: Foreign Correspondence, Items, Etc.
Periodical Title: The Crayon
Edition: 12
Year Published: 1857
Title: George Caleb Bingham
Periodical Title: American History Illustrated
Author: E. Maurice Bloch
Title: Twenty-second Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association
Year Published: 1868
Title: Originality and Influence in George Caleb Bingham's Art
Periodical Title: Great Plains Quarterly
Author: Stephen C. Behrendt
Title: Twentieth Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association
Year Published: 1866
Title: A Missourian Worth Remembering: George Caleb Bingham
Author: Thomas E. Spencer
Title: George Caleb Bingham
Year Published: 1993
Title: Letters of George Caleb Bingham to James S. Rollins
Periodical Title: The Missouri Historical Review
Author: George Caleb Bingham
Editor: C. B. Rollins
Title: See for Yourself: Highlights of the Collection
Periodical Title: A Gallery Guide for The Saint Louis Art Museum
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Bingham: Fighting Artist
Author: Lew Larkin
Title: Jolly Flatboatmen: Bingham and his Imitators
Periodical Title: Antiques Magazine
Author: John Francis McDermott
Title: One Hundred of the World's Most Beautiful Paintings
Year Published: 1991
Title: George Caleb Bingham: Frontier Painter of Missouri
Author: Albert Christ-Janer
Title: Mississippi Panorama: First Full Showing in 90 Years
Periodical Title: Star-Times
Author: Reed Hynds
Title: George Caleb Bingham of Missouri: The Story of an Artist
Year Published: 1940
Title: George Caleb Bingham: River Portraitist
Year Published: 1959
Title: The River: Images of the Mississippi
Periodical Title: Design Quarterly
Year Published: 1976
Title: La Mythologie de l'Ouest dans l'Art Américain 1830-1940
Author: Marie-Claude Coudert
Title: The One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition
Author: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Title: America and the Sea: A Maritime History
Author: Benjamin W. Labaree
Title: Stephen Foster: American Experience
Year Published: 1982
Title: Fiddle in the Camp
Periodical Title: Points West (Journal of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center)
Author: Lillian Turner
Title: Museum News: The River Between Us
Periodical Title: Saint Louis Art Museum Magazine
Year Published: 2013
Title: Thirty-Fourth Annual Report of the Board of Direction of the Saint Louis Mercantile Library Association
Author: Saint Louis Mercantile Library Association
Title: A Souvenir of Romanticism in America
Author: The Baltimore Museum of Art
Title: George Caleb Bingham: Frontier Painter
Periodical Title: Mankind: The Magazine of Popular History
Author: Richard Merrill
Title: George Caleb Bingham's River Paintings Revisited: Music and Dance in The Jolly Flatboatmen
Periodical Title: Musicological Explorations
Author: Annett Richter
Title: Catalogue of the Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Washington Art Association
Author: Washington Art Association
Publisher: Washington Art Association
Title: When the Mississippi Ran Backwards: Empire, Intrigue, Murder and the New Madrid Earthquakes
Author: Jay Feldman
Title: Look Away: Reality and Sentiment in Southern Art
Author: Estill Curtis Pennington
Title: George Caleb Bingham
Periodical Title: Bulletin of the City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: George Caleb Bingham 1811-1879
Author: E. Maurice Bloch
Title: Lexikon der Düsseldorfer Malerschule
Edition: Band I
Year Published: 1997
Title: Bingham's Missouri
Author: George McCue
Title: George Caleb Bingham: The Missouri Artist
Author: Fern Helen Rusk
Title: George Caleb Bingham
Editor: Saint Louis Art Museum
Author: Michael E. Shapiro
Title: The Oxford History of the American West
Author: Clyde Milner II
Author: Carol A. O'Connor
Author: Martha A. Sandweiss
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Title: Special Exhibition of the Paintings of George Caleb Bingham "The Missouri Artist"
Author: Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri-Columbia
Title: An Exhibition of the Work of George Caleb Bingham, 1811-1879, 'The Missouri Artist'
Periodical Title: Bulletin of the City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Author: Meyric R. Rogers
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: George Caleb Bingham: The Missouri Artist 1811-1879
Author: Meyric R. Rogers
Author: James Boggs Musick
Author: Professor Arthur Upham Pope
Title: Life In America
Author: Denver Art Museum
Title: George Caleb Bingham: Sesquicentennial Exhibition 1811-1961
Periodical Title: The Nelson Gallery and Atkins Museum Bulletin
Author: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Title: Mississippi Panorama
Editor: Perry T. Rathbone
Title: Bilder aus der Neuen Welt, Amerikanishe Malerei des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts: Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza und Museen der Vereinoigten Staaten
Publisher: Prestel-Verlag
Editor: Thomas W. Gaehtgens
Author: Willi Paul Adams
Title: Masterworks of American Art
Author: The Teaching Company
Author: William Kloss
Title: The Authenticity of American Realism: Samuel Clemens and George Caleb Bingham "On the River"
Periodical Title: Prospects
Author: Barry Maine
Title: Western Rivermen, 1763-1861: Ohio and Mississippi Boatmen and the Myth of the Alligator Horse
Author: Michael Allen
Title: George Caleb Bingham and Freemasonry: "The Jolly Flatboatmen" (1846) Reconsidered
Author: Katherine Alban Phillips
Title: The Düsseldorf Academy and the Americans
Author: High Museum of Art
Title: Frontier Gallery
Periodical Title: Saint Louis Art Museum Magazine
Edition: November-December
Year Published: 1998
Title: George Caleb Bingham: Missouri's Famed Painter and Forgotten Politician
Author: Paul C. Nagel
Title: Art of the Golden West
Year Published: 1990
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