The American Artist
The American Artist
The American Artist

The American Artist

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    • Directed by: Shane Seley & Keith Johnson
    • Released: 2018 (educational)
    • Year of Production: 2016
Running Time: 58 min 
Language: English, Closed Captioned
Subjects: American History, Art

The American Artist is an intimate portrait of a self-taught artist, George Bingham, who painted life on the river and the politics of a tumultuous era in 19th century American history. Now celebrated as one of the greatest American artists, Bingham and his stunning body of work portray a story of perseverance, ingenuity, and unwavering determination.


Bingham Rediscovered - A Lasting Legacy

In his time, Bingham was a respected portrait painter, but lasting fame proved elusive. His reputation was forever damaged by his choice to make a courageous stand following the Civil War.  Upon his death, his legacy was scattered, his work written off as quaint, and nearly forgotten entirely.

But then a new generation of artists championed his work.  To regionalists like Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry, Bingham was one of them, existing even before their movement had a name.  

Now Bingham is recognized as one of the key American painters of the 19th century, a model for American artists and movements to come, and one of the first to capture the quintessential American experience.


  • Narration by Emmy-winning voice actor Keith David
  • Music by Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and The Mengel Brothers
  • Dr. Joan Stack, curator for the State Historical Society of Missouri

Academic Reviews

"An important and engaging film that will be of interest to history and art students as well as general audiences." - Library Journal

The Honor of Storytelling - A Message from the Filmmaking Team

Every story we tell is a humbling experience.  We never forget the importance of telling a story well, and telling it right.  This means crafting something that will grab ahold of an audience's attention, but without resorting to cheap tricks or sensationalism.  

Especially in the realm of non-fiction cinema, we strive for that perfect balance, honoring the facts and presenting them as they occurred, but also respecting our viewer's time and giving them a memorable experience rather than a filmed lecture.  

In some cases, a story waits a century or more before it lands in our laps.  It is an opportunity of a lifetime to do it right.  Now Bingham's time has come, and we will do his legacy proud!