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Prints and Drawings
Artist: Regnier, French
After: George Caleb Bingham, American, 1811–1879

Canvassing for a Vote

1853

Color lithograph

sheet: 46.99 × 55.88 cm (18 1/2 × 22 in.)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
1946.9.630
The 1840 presidential race between William Henry Harrison and Martin Van Buren excited widespread national interest in politics. Among those swept up in the fervor was the artist George Caleb Bingham, who painted an entire “election series” of six canvases. In Canvassing for a Vote, Bingham’s irreverent juxtaposition of the tophatted politician with the horse’s rump suggests the artist’s wry view of the lowly nature of politics. The sleeping dog may allude to the lack of voter enthusiasm; alternately, it may comment on the volatile slavery issue facing Missouri legislators, a caveat to “let sleeping dogs lie.”
Culture: 
French
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Works on Paper - Prints
Provenance: 

Mabel Brady Garvan Collection, to 1946; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 137–39, no. 77, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.