As the nation prepares to vote in national, state and local races this fall, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is spotlighting an iconic American painting, George Caleb Bingham’s The County Election. The painting will be on view at VMFA through Dec. 28.
Bingham, who was born in 1811 in Augusta County, Va., was both a politician and a painter who “brought all of his powers of human observation to bear in his clear-eyed exploration of the democratic principle at work in The County Election, says Dr. Sylvia Yount, VMFA’s Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art.
Although Bingham was a Virginian whose roots in the state reached back two generations, he made his fame in painting and politics in Missouri. As an artist, he was well known for his scenes of everyday life west of the Mississippi. As a politician, he won election as a Missouri state representative in 1848. He died in 1879.
The Bingham display is one of a series of free VMFA “spotlight loan” exhibitions that will cast new light on works from the museum’s permanent collection by showing them with major loans from private and public holdings across the U.S. and abroad.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is on the Boulevard at Grove Avenue. The galleries are open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the museum is free. For additional information about exhibitions and programs, call (804) 340-1400 or visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Web site, www.vmfa.museum.
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