(b on a plantation, Augusta County, Va., 20 Mar. 1811; d Kansas City, Mo., 7 July 1879).
American painter. He worked mainly in Missouri (where he held several political posts), painting the life of the frontier people. Except for a short period studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, he was self-taught. His finest canvases, particularly the celebrated Fur Traders Descending the Missouri (1845, Met. Mus., New York), distil visual poetry from the commonplace, but after a study visit to Düsseldorf (a major art centre that attracted several American painters) in 1856–8 his work lost much of its racy freshness and charm, tending to become self-conscious and sentimental.