George Caleb Bingham was active in Missouri politics for most of his adult life. Canvassing for a Vote reflects his full faith in the democratic system, even as he recognized its shortcomings. Set in the artist’s hometown of Arrow Rock, Missouri, the composition shows a politician and trio of potential voters in a solid pyramid at the center of the painting, representing the campaign process at work. Bingham also suggests some of the problems of 1850s American politics. A sleeping dog and a man whose back is turned to the solicitation may imply political disenfranchisement and disinterested citizens. Bingham may also be commenting on the dubious character of certain politicians by placing the horse’s rump in line with the canvasser’s head.


  • Title: Canvassing for a Vote
  • Creator: George Caleb Bingham
  • Creator Lifespan: 1811 - 1879
  • Date Created: 1852
  • Physical Dimensions: w774.7 x h641.35 in (Unframed)
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Culture: American

Additional Items

Canvassing for a Vote (Supplemental)

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