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    Description

    OSCAR EDWARD BERNINGHAUS (American, 1874-1952)
    Itinerant River Merchant
    Oil on canvas
    24 x 36 inches (61.0 x 91.4 cm)
    Signed lower left: O.E. Berninghaus

    PROVENANCE:
    The Boatmen's National Bank, St. Louis, Missouri.

    LITERATURE:
    G. Sanders, Oscar E. Berninghaus, Taos, New Mexico: Master Painter of American Indians and the Frontier West, Taos, New Mexico, 1985, pp. 90-92, 131, 132, 135.

    Oscar Berninghaus, a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists, spent a part of each year in Taos from 1900 to 1925 when he settled there permanently. He first traveled there in 1898 on assignment for the Denver and Rio Grande railroad to complete a series of paintings for use in a travel brochure. With that first trip, Berninghaus developed a fascination for the land and people of Northern New Mexico. His depictions of Taos and its surroundings formed the greatest part of his artistic output from his first visit until his death at age 77 in 1952. Yet he always maintained a close association with his hometown of St.Louis, Missouri and some of his most important commissions came from St. Louis patrons and businesses, among them, the Anheuser-Busch corporation and Boatmen's Bank.

    Begun in 1847 as a bank "for the working man," Boatmen's became a major St. Louis institution that played an important role in the civic life of the city. According to company history, its name was derived from the fact that many of its earliest customers worked on the riverboats that sailed up and down the Mississippi. As the bank became larger and more successful in the twentieth century, its executives began to amass an extensive art collection. Many of the works they acquired had a direct connection to the history of St. Louis either in subject matter or in an affiliation with a particular artist who hailed from the city, such as western artist, Charles M. Russell, and genre painter George Caleb Bingham.

    Like Anheuser-Busch, the bank also commissioned works of art. In 1936, the bank chose Oscar Berninghaus to create a series of paintings depicting several forms of transportation that were important to the success of St.Louis in the latter decades of the nineteenth century - riverboats, railroads, stagecoaches, and flat boats. Berninghaus completed several paintings in the series over the course of two years from 1936 to 1938.
    The paintings shown here were all part of that series and for many years were displayed in the executive offices of Boatmen's bank in St. Louis.


    Condition Report*: Canvas has been lined and is in stable condition.  Paint layer is in good condition. UV examination revealed no visible areas of inpainting.  Framed Dimensions 28 X 40 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2012
    10th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,433

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