Posted 3 years ago
Because a specialist doubted of what I said without ever seen this the painting and a well known 30 year painting business expert defined it as not worth anything to also include a northern expert in George Caleb Bingham’s paintings who could not help because they no nothing of early works of Bingham, I had no choice but to look forward in defining it my self.
This genre painting has no frame and it sits on a 12x16 stretch bar. The painting its self is much larger than the stretch bar. There is evidence of overlapping on all sides. You can tell that all the corners have been refolded to fit the smaller stretch bar. The canvas has rough edges, looks old, and is made out of hemp. The painting was prepared with white lead base paint and the paints that lay on top were added to create this colorful original image of an early American setting. This painting has all the characteristics of an old painting usually described by art experts. Francis William Edmonds can not deny the fact that this is an early American setting because he himself created a painting that was almost identical called Taking The Census, which he sold during the fall of 1854. From July 14, 1853 to November 14, 1854 the United States was having The World Industrial Expo which attracted many different painters from many different countries. About the same time a German painter name Eduard Merk made a recorded ownership claim, to the painting I found, by writing and hiding his name behind the lower right hand corner. In the same corner he also stamped four numbers that represent the date of when he wrote his name and claimed ownership of the painting. Utilizing basic 19 century old style Central European Roman numerals he stamped theses four numbers 9.4.55 which stands for 9 of Apr, 1855. We cannot say Sept 4, 1855 because he was from Germany. This may very well be the day he acquire the painting. Merk, was a 39 year old skilled German painter then, and could not possibly lay claim to the creation of this American painting which was actually made by a young unskilled American Artis. Francis William Edmonds could not lay claim to the creation of this painting either because he was a 49 year old skilled American painter plus the painting colors and details are too original for him which is two characteristics that he never mastered. Both of these painters are indicating that the painting was created by someone else. The focus now is on the setting of the original looking painting I found, which could give us a lead in identifying the unknown Artis. Furthermore, I must say that any Art expert, with 19 century knowledge, would have said that the setting is early 1800's. For example, Eli Terry's mantle clock invention of 1817 was first produced in a simple wooden box and soon after cheaper imitations were made such as the one in the painting. A similar clock can be seen in a painting called Early Life On The Frontier. Because of the mantle clock, this setting can not be older than 1817. The general purpose writing feather quill pen became out date in the late 1820's by the abundance of the new metal dip pen. So most likely this setting is from the early 1800's. Was this old man really taking the census with a feather quill pen in 1854 as Mr Edmonds implied? Need not to answer, because there is another item that painters use to record time and that is the minute hand on the clock. The clock is indicating that it is some where between 1821 to 1822. The minute hand, the clock, and the feather quill pen are indications of an early 1800's setting. The most accurate one to investigate is the minute hand. But, before we do that, let's examine a few details about the painting. For example, the easel on the left shows evidence of the painter mixing brown paint indicating that he was using the brown paint on this very same painting. To draw an original setting takes a while and to paint it even longer. The young painter has stated that the easel is part of this setting and if the easel is part of the setting so is he. His drawing detail skill, shades, background wall texture, light angles, and original looking colors are all details that describe the young American Artist. A young painter with potential, to be exact. After doing research for young American unskilled Artis in the early 1820', only one was found born with drawing skills who had the same characteristics and passion about painting early American life. His name is George Caleb Bingham. History describe's the Bingham family as a young family in the new town of Franklin, Missouri built in 1817. The father was doing well in 1822. So well that he was a county judge, was building a tobacco warehouse for his tobacco farm, plus owned a hotel called the square and compass inn. The Mother was of good sizes and of German descent. She was educated and had a couple of books from which she would teach her children to read. Every early spring a cabinet maker name Jesse Green would come around to take down customers orders so he can hurry up and finish before winter sets in. He was also known as Rev Jesse Green the eldest of the Methodist church counsel who later went out to teach the Shawnee Indians in the west. About the same time that the cabinet maker came around one would hire an individual part-time that knew the area and had similar writing skills to take account of the census. It was a simple census where one only needed to take account of the number of family members. After 1850, the census took account of how many, who were they, what they did for a leaving, and other details that made the census hard to take. So you see, a quill pen, is out of the question. But, the main point I want to make is that it doesn't matter if the man is a cabinet maker or a census taker. What matters is that this setting now becomes early spring of 1821 or 1822 as previously indicated by minute hand. The minute hand is also indicating that this person is a cabinet maker because the census is only taken every ten years. Bingham's family History also describes a little baby girl name Amanda Bingham born sept of 1821 which makes her several months old in the spring of 1822. If the story proves to be the setting, then this is definitely early spring of 1822.The lady to the left resembles a baby sitter and the boy to the right is the cabinet/census taker helper. Due to the fact that the characters are so original in an early 1800’s setting and taking into consideration the specific details in relation to Bingham’s family way of life, one has to respect the possibilities without holding back the question of who is the young artist? One day this painting is going to challenge Sir Francis Willam Edmond’s painting called Taking The Census on originality.