Dubbed "the Missouri artist," George Caleb Bingham moved to the state as a child and, by the 1840s, began painting the scenes of western life for which he is now famous. Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River celebrates his iconic depictions of frontier life by bringing together his river paintings and drawings for the first time in decades.
The 22 paintings on view in Navigating the West include masterworks from the Museum's American collection and others on loan from prominent museums and private collections. They are joined by more than 50 related drawings and prints, as well as the recently restored Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley. Painted around 1850, at the same time as Bingham's masterworks, the 348-foot-long Panorama provides another depiction of life along the western rivers.
Navigating the West is the most extensive and ambitious of three coinciding explorations of landscape and the river in 19th-century American art. Visitors are invited to enjoy the free exhibitions Scenic Wonder: An Early American Journey Down the Hudson River and Thomas Cole's Voyage of Life.
Co-organized by the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Navigating the West will travel to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in June. The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly, full-color catalogue that is available in the Museum Shops.
Navigating the West opens to the public on Sunday, February 22 and runs through May 17. All tickets—including free tickets—are timed and dated, and advance tickets are recommended.
Tickets prices are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $6 for children ages 6 to 12. Children under the age of 6 are free. Members receive free tickets, and the exhibition is free to all visitors on Fridays. The last admission time of the day is one hour before the Museum closes.
Advance tickets are available at the Museum or through MetroTix. There is a limit of 6 advanced tickets on Fridays. Tickets purchased or reserved through MetroTix will be assessed a service fee. Same-day tickets are available in person at the Museum only. When ordering through MetroTix, Members must present a special promo code to receive the correct number of free Member tickets. To obtain your specific code, please visit members.slam.org/code or call 314.655.5335.
Multimedia tours are available on a limited number of Museum iPads. Visitors may use these devices when they are available, however they are strongly encouraged to download the app for free on their own devices. During Free Fridays, there is a $5 charge for using Museum iPads.
The Art Museum welcomes all visitors and strives to make its building and programs accessible to everyone. Photography is not allowed in Navigating the West, but you may take non-flash, non-commercial photos in our permanent collection galleries.
The last entry to Navigating the West is one hour before the Museum closes.
Museum Members enjoy free admission to Navigating the West, as well as invitations to special events and valuable discounts on dining, shopping, and parking. Join today to enjoy the many wonderful benefits of membership.
Be among the first to see the exhibition during two preview days exclusively for Members, with live music, hands-on activities, and a special Members-only lecture by one of the exhibition's organizing curators.
Museum Members receive free timed tickets to the exhibition on every visit. Your membership level determines the number of tickets you may receive. Advance tickets for the exhibition and select Member programs are recommended for best availability.
Advance tickets are available in person at the Information Centers or through MetroTix. When ordering through MetroTix, Members must present a promo code to receive free tickets. To retrieve your promo code, call the Membership Office at 314.655.5335 or click here. All MetroTix orders, including Member tickets, will include a $3 per ticket fee.
All events in The Farrell Auditorium, including free events, are ticketed. Tickets to the exhibition and related programs may be purchased or reserved in person at the Museum's Information Centers or through MetroTix. Tickets purchased or reserved through MetroTix will be assessed a service fee.
The rivers were an integral part of the lives of the 19th century Missourians depicted in Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River, and continue to impact our lives today. This series of five two-minute videos profiles fascinating people from the region whose lives are intertwined with the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.
In the mid-19th century, pictures of America's inland rivers circulated widely around the country, feeding the public's imagination about the nation's extant wilderness. American artists such as Thomas Cole in the East and George Caleb Bingham in the Midwest depicted major waterways including the Hudson, the Missouri, and the Mississippi as symbols of a changing America.
This symposium will explore the social and artistic importance of America's rivers pictured in paintings, drawings, and prints during the mid-19th century.
Registration Fee: $45; $35 Members of the Saint Louis Art Museum; Registration may be completed in person at the Museum's Information Centers or through MetroTix at metrotix.com or 314-534-1111. All registrations through Metrotix incur a service charge; the service charge is waived for tickets purchased at the Museum.
Support of this symposium provided by TEFAF, Maastricht
|Friday, February 20|
|5:00-7:00 pm||Registration, cash bar, and exhibition viewing
(Sculpture Hall, 2nd & 3rd floor galleries)
Check-in Sculpture Hall
|5:00-6:00 pm||Exhibition Introductions:
Eric Lutz & Ann-Maree Walker (Scenic Wonder: The Hudson River Portfolio)
David Conradsen & Ann Burroughs (Thomas Cole's Voyage of Life)
Janeen Turk & Nancy Heugh (Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River)
|8:00 pm||Last entry for Navigating the West|
|9:00 pm||Museum closes|
Saturday, February 21
|9:00 am||Registration (Auditorium Lobby, 1st floor)
Coffee & Muffins (Café, 1st floor)
Jason Busch, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Museum Programs, Saint Louis Art Museum
Melissa Wolfe, Curator of American Art, Saint Louis Art Museum
|10:15-11:00 am||The Fluid West: Bingham's River Paintings in Context
Nenette Luarca-Shoaf, Guest Curator, Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River and Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
|11:00-11:10 am||Q & A|
|11:15-12:30 pm||Session #1|
Julie Dunn-Morton, Endowed Curator of Fine Art Collection, St. Louis Mercantile Library at University of Missouri-St. Louis
|Creating a Shared Vision: River Panoramas and the American Ideal
Janet Whitmore, Independent Scholar
|Imaging Rivers in Bingham's America: Maps, Economies, and the Struggle for America's Future
Peter Kastor, Professor and Chair, Department of History and Professor, American Culture Studies, Washington University in St. Louis
|12:30-2:00 pm||Lunch (1 hr, 30 min)|
|2:00-3:15 pm||Session #2|
Andrew J. Walker, Director, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth
|Hudson River, Artery of Art
Katherine Manthorne, Professor, Doctoral Program in Art History, City University of New York's Graduate Center
|"Strangers Still More Strange:" The River, the Steamboat, and Melville's The Confidence Man
T.S. McMillin, Professor of English Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio
|3:15-4:30 pm||Session #3|
Melissa Wolfe, Curator of American Art, Saint Louis Art Museum
|A Look Over the Artist's Shoulder: Bingham's Fur Traders
Descending the Missouri
Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser, Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, Metropolitan Museum of Art
|Families and the River: George Caleb Bingham and the Missouri's Complex Racial Past
Anne Hyde, Professor of History, Colorado College, Colorado Springs
|4:30 pm||Wrap up|
|4:30-5:30 pm||Reception (Auditorium Lobby)|
The exhibition has been organized by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, and the Saint Louis Art Museum. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities and in part by generous grants from the Henry Luce Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The St. Louis presentation is generously supported by the William T. Kemper Foundation, Commerce Bank, Trustee. Financial assistance has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.