Fur Traders Descending the Missouri is an 1845 painting by George Caleb Bingham. Bingham brought the painting to St. Louis, Missouri on June 4, 1845, along with several other pieces of artwork.
One of Bingham's most famous paintings, this work is owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Painted around 1845 in the style called luminism by some historians of American art, it was originally entitled, French-Trader, Half-breed Son. The American Art Union thought the title potentially controversial and renamed it when it was first exhibited. It reflected the reality of fur traders' common marriages with Native American women; in Canada the Métis ethnic group formed as a result. The painting is haunting for its evocation of an era in American history-—note, in particular, the liberty cap worn by the older man. The animal in the boat is widely accepted as a bear cub and not a cat.