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    George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811-1879)
    Portrait of Colonel Levi Pritchard, circa 1862
    Oil on canvas
    79 x 32 inches (200.7 x 81.3 cm)

    The artist;
    Levi Pritchard, acquired from the above;
    By descent in the Pritchard family;
    Private collection, New Jersey, 1996;
    Private collection, Wyckoff, New Jersey, by descent from the above.

    Colonel Levi Pritchard, the subject of George Caleb Bingham's monumental portrait, may be relatively unknown. However, as history proves, he was a national war hero who exemplified America's entrepreneurial spirit, helping others through public service over the course of his lifetime. According to art historian and Bingham scholar Fred Kline:

    "Lieutenant Colonel Levi Pritchard (1831-1901) exemplifies the heroic citizen solider of Missouri's Civil War period. He was a patriot who defended his state and the Union against the Confederate forces during most of the war years. Pritchard's exemplary record of Civil War service ranged across the state from St. Joseph to Jefferson City to St. Louis, beginning in 1861 when he joined the Union Army up to 1865 when he was wounded and released from active duty. He entered as a thirty-year old private, then quickly was promoted to Captain, and finally rose to Lt. Colonel, serving almost the entire time guarding Missouri with a number of State Militias.

    "This portrait was painted by Bingham circa 1862 when Pritchard was Captain of Company D, 4th Regiment Missouri State Militia Calvary, based at Regimental Headquarters, Jefferson City. Bingham, an active Whig politician and a nationally famous artist by then, had been appointed State Treasurer (1862-65) and moved to Jefferson City in 1862.

    "In 1864, while serving with the 12th Regiment Missouri Calvary, Major Pritchard was wounded in a battle related to the defense of Nashville, in support of General Thomas's decisive victory over the Confederate forces of General Hood. Pritchard left the service in February 1865 because of his wounds. Two months later, at the end of the Civil War in April, he was made a Lt. Colonel of the 54th Regiment of a newly organized Missouri Militia. This new militia, comprised of 84 regiments, survived long after the Civil War and became the primary force that addressed the lawlessness that engulfed post-war Missouri.

    "As a young man of twenty in 1852, Pritchard left Ohio and the family farm and crossed the plains to California seeking his fortune. By 1855, Pritchard returned to Ohio. In 1856, he moved to DeKalb County, Missouri, where he ran a general store and became DeKalb County Postmaster until the Civil War intruded.

    "After the Civil War, Pritchard returned to DeKalb County [to marry and raise his children] ...In 1879, he and his family, now with five children, moved to Graham County, Kansas, and to a life of farming, where they were known for their cattle, roses, and apples. In 1879, Pritchard founded the newspaper in Graham County, The Western Star in Millbrook, which continued publishing until 1928.

    "In 1880, Prichard was elected Graham County Surveyor. In 1892, as a member of the 'People's Party,' he was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives, and in 1895 he was elected State Senator...and served until his death in 1901.

    "[Pritchard's] obituary from many sources honored Levi Pritchard as an extraordinary man: '...A most honored citizen...No man in Kansas stood higher in the estimation of the people...Western Kansas loses one of its best and most faithful citizens...If every man who enters politics could retire with the same high regard and respect from his associates, politics would be cleaner and the affairs of state would be more sacredly guarded...'"

    This work will be included in The George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonné: Online Supplement of Paintings and Drawings, to be published online in 2020.

    Condition Report*: Glue line canvas. 6 x 3 inch repair on the extreme right of the face going into the background; 10 x 4 inch 'H' shape repair left of the left arm and extending into figures body; a few scattered repairs visible in raking light in figures legs including an approx. 6 inch horizontal line at figure's knee; Moderate craquelure throughout, with spots of consolidation and inpaint, noticeable in raking light; Yellowed varnished; The frame is broken on the bottom edge. Under UV light, there appears to be a thick discolored varnish layer; scattered spots of inpaint throughout, most notable three approximate 4 inch diameter spots in background of upper third; Areas of restoration previously mentioned fluoresce under UV light.
    Framed Dimensions 82 X 36.5 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. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    3rd Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 905

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