New Bingham Piece Lands in Gallery

Boonville Daily News
The newest piece of art at the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art on the campus of Central Methodist University. The painting is a portrait of a historic Missouri supreme court judge by George Caleb Bingham. It is on display along with the current exhibit until July 22.

Fayette, Mo. – The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art has long been home to several pieces of work by “the Missouri Artist” George Caleb Bingham, and now it has added one more.

The painting of “Judge John Ferguson Ryland” is the latest to grace the walls of the Gallery, alongside the current exhibit on display until July 22. On permanent loan from Robert Emil Otto and Elizabeth Ayres Otto, the oil on canvas work features a portrait of one of the state’s most prominent supreme court justices of the 19th century.

Ryland came to Missouri around 1820, settling in Howard County to practice law. He became friends with the artist’s family and handled claims made on Bingham’s father’s estate in 1824. He later became a circuit judge and then was appointed to the state supreme court, where he served on the court for the 1852 case of Emerson v. Scott, a precursor to the famed “Dred Scott decision” by the U.S. Supreme Court. Ryland retired from the bench in 1857 and was a member of the state general assembly by the end of the Civil War.

Bingham, a self-taught artist born in Virginia, is known for his paintings of American frontier life along the Missouri River. He was also a member of the Missouri legislature around the Civil War era and fought against the westward extension of slavery.

The Ryland painting was permanently loaned to the Ashby-Hodge Gallery in mid-May, along with a number of books and news clippings about Bingham, which the Ottos had been collecting for some time.

Visitors to the Gallery can view the new addition, along with the Bill and Martha Holman Collection and Another Look at the Dr. John Hutcherson Collection, from now until July 22. The Gallery is open from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Special tours are also available by contacting curator Denise Haskamp at 660-248-6304 or dhaskamp@centralmethodist.edu.