Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

 

DISCOVERY

 

Artist              GEORGE CALEB BINGHAM  (1811-1879)

Title  

 

PORTRAIT OF FREDERICK MOSS PREWITT

                    ( 1799-1871 )

 

 

Biographical Note

Frederick Moss Prewitt (called Moss), depicted in this 1834-35 portrait when he was a young Columbia, Missouri merchant, went on to become one of the earliest bankers in Missouri, a founder of the University of Missouri, and a man of great wealth. 

Prewitt was again painted by Bingham some twenty years later in 1855-56 (Bloch #285), along with his wife Nancy (Bloch #286).  Nancy Johnson Prewitt (1807-1871) was coincidentally the aunt of Bingham’s second wife Eliza K. Thomas Bingham. 

Moss Prewitt established in 1857—with his son-in-law R. B. Price (1832-1924)—what was to become Boone County National Bank, the first national bank organized in Missouri and the third west of the Mississippi (a bank that has lasted to the present day, although it is now part of Central Bancompany).  Price and his wife, Prewitt’s daughter Emma (1837-1859) were both painted by Bingham in 1862 (Bloch #334 & #335), although Emma had died by then and Bingham’s painting was no doubt based on a photograph.   Emma was one of ten children born into the Prewitt family.

Moss Prewitt, one of Bingham's earliest patrons, referred many family portraits over the years to Bingham and on a number of occasions loaned the artist financial support, as noted in several of Bingham's letters to his closest friend Major James Rollins. In one letter (August 10, 1856), as Bingham was poised to embark with his family to Paris on the 14th, he wrote in a P.S. at the end of the letter a request to Rollins to kindly see to it that Prewitt was repaid for a substantial loan of $1,080 in the event of his death during his sojourn in Europe.

 

 
     
Medium   Oil on canvas
   
Size   26 1/2   x  22 1/4  inches
   
Signed    Not signed or inscribed or identified
   

Date




 

Painted circa 1834-35, Columbia, MO  

 


Catalogue Raisonne  

 

The George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne Supplement of Paintings and Drawings: CRS 4.

 

Collections

 

 

 

Collection of Frederick Moss Prewitt

Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Frederick Moss Prewitt

(Probably) Prewitt children and their descendents

Art Market ( as unknown artist & unknown sitter )

Fred R. Kline Gallery ( here identified by Fred R. Kline as Bingham & the sitter as Prewitt )

Collection of Prewitt Family Descendents, 2007

 

     
Exhibitions

 

 

Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe. "A Lost Early Portrait by George Caleb Bingham".  February 2007.

The George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne Supplement of Paintings and Drawings.  Fred R. Kline, Editor.  Portrait of Frederick Moss Prewitt.   Exhibited online: www.GeorgeCalebBingham.org.  from October 16, 2007.

United Missouri Bank, Boonville, Missouri. "A Portrait of Frederick Moss Prewitt by George Caleb Bingham".  January 2008-January 2010

 

Publications  

 

 

The George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne Supplement of Paintings and Drawings. Fred R. Kline, Editor.  Record # 4: Portrait of Frederick Moss Prewitt. Illustration # 4. Published online: www.GeorgeCalebBingham.org.  Ongoing from October 16, 2006, Santa Fe, NM.

Note: E. Maurice Bloch was unaware of this painting and consequently it was not mentioned or included in his 1986 Catalogue Raisonne, The Paintings of George Caleb Bingham. However, the 1855-56 portrait of Frederick Moss Prewitt (Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City), showing him 20 years older and illustrated in Bloch’s 1986 Catalogue Raisonne ( CR-285 ), was instrumental in Kline's identification of the 1834-35 portrait.  Prewitt posed similarly in both portraits which clearly points to the presence of the earlier portrait during the later sitting.  It is likely that both portraits hung together in Prewitt's office or his home until his death in 1871. 


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Frederick Moss Prewitt Family Descendents, Inc.

 

 

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