Record: Portrait of Frederick Moss Prewitt

Portrait of Frederick Moss Prewitt, by George Caleb Bingham, CRS # 4

Copyright 2005-2012, George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne Supplement
Fred R. Kline, M.A., Edi
tor & Director, Independent Art Historian
Kline Art Research Associates
7 Avenida Vista Grande, Suite B-7 , Santa Fe, NM 87508

frk   505-9881103

  GEORGE CALEB BINGHAM, American, 1811-1879 





    ( b. 1799 / d.1871 Columbia, Missouri )




Biographical Note

Frederick Moss Prewitt (called Moss), depicted in this 1834-35 portrait when he was a young Columbia merchant, went on to become one of the earliest bankers in Missouri, a founder of the University of Missouri, and a man of great wealth.  

Prewitt was again painted by Bingham some twenty years later in 1855-56 (Bloch #285), along with his wife Nancy (Bloch #286).  Nancy Johnson Prewitt (1807-1871) was coincidentally the aunt of Bingham’s second wife Eliza K. Thomas Bingham. 

Moss Prewitt established in 1857—with his son-in-law R. B. Price (1832-1924)—what was to become Boone County National Bank, the first national bank organized in Missouri and the third west of the Mississippi (a bank that has lasted to the present day, although it is now part of Central Bancompany).  Price and his wife, Prewitt’s daughter Emma (1837-1859) were both painted by Bingham in 1862 (Bloch #334 & #335), although Emma had died by then and Bingham’s painting was no doubt based on a photograph.   Emma was one of ten children born into the Prewitt family.

Moss Prewitt, one of Bingham's earliest patrons, referred many family portraits over the years to Bingham and on a number of occasions loaned the artist financial support, as noted in several of Bingham's letters to his closest friend Major James Rollins. In one letter (August 10, 1856), as Bingham was poised to embark with his family to Paris on the 14th, he wrote in a P.S. at the end of the letter a request to Rollins to kindly see to it that Prewitt was repaid for a substantial loan of $1,080 in the event of his death during his sojourn in Europe.




  Oil on canvas
  26 1/2   x  22 1/4  inches


Painted circa 1834-35 in Columbia, MO  



Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Frederick Moss Prewitt

Prewitt children and their descendents

Art Market (as unknown artist & unknown sitter)

Collection of Prewitt Family Descendents, 2007



First exhibition: The George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne Supplement of Paintings and Drawings.  Fred R. Kline, Editor.  George Caleb Bingham, Portrait of Frederick Moss Prewitt.   Exhibited online at  Ongoing from October 16, 2006, Santa Fe, NM

Second exhibition: United Missouri Bank, Boonville, Missouri. "A Portrait of Frederick Moss Prewitt by George Caleb Bingham". January 2008-January 2010



First publication: The George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonne Supplement of Paintings and Drawings. Fred R. Kline, Editor.  Record: Portrait of Frederick Moss Prewitt. Illustration # 4. Published online at  Ongoing from October 16, 2006, Santa Fe, NM. 

Note: E. Maurice Bloch was unaware of this painting and consequently it was not mentioned or included in his 1986 Catalogue Raisonne, The Paintings of George Caleb Bingham. However, the 1855-56 portrait of Frederick Moss Prewitt that was illustrated in Bloch’s 1986 Catalogue Raisonne was instrumental in the identification of the 1834-35 portrait.