George Catlin

George Catlin

American, 1796 - 1872

Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 , Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872

Information below is taken from the webpage , from the website of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, see also for a fuller biography of Catlin.

George Catlin and his Indian Gallery

George Catlin (1796-1872) journeyed west five times in the 1830s to paint the Plains Indians and their way of life. Convinced that westward expansion spelled certain disaster for native peoples, he viewed his Indian Gallery as a way "to rescue from oblivion their primitive looks and customs."

Catlin was the first artist to record the Plains Indians in their own territories. He admired them as the embodiment of the Enlightenment ideal of "natural man," living in harmony with nature. But the more than 500 paintings in the Indian Gallery also reveal the fateful encounter of two different cultures in a frontier region undergoing dramatic transformation.

By the late 1830s and 1840s, Catlin began displaying the Indian Gallery in eastern capitals and in Europe, an advocate for the Indian way of life.