George Catlin : American Indian Portraits
This book, and the exhibition it accompanies, showcases works from George Catlin's 'Indian Gallery' - a series of portraits not seen in the UK since the 1840s - and seeks to reposition this remarkable artist for a contemporary audience. The authors explore the origins of Catlin's achievement: his ambition to record what he believed to be dying cultures, and his collecting activities, educational intentions and methods of exhibition and display, which demonstrate the growth of a new sensibility towards native peoples. While Catlin's work is well known in the United States, especially in Washington DC, where most of it is still housed in the Smithsonian Institution, George Catlin: American Indian Portraits will help to bring these spectacular pictures to new audiences in Britain and around the world. Stephanie Pratt provides an overview of the important historical events affecting native Americans in the 1820s and 1830s, while Joan Carpenter Troccoli examines the life and art of Catlin from the 1820s, when he decided to devote his career to painting American Indians, through the period of his European tours of the 1840s and 1850s. In addition to tracing the stylistic development of this largely self-taught painter, the book includes an examination of the creation and reception of the Indian Gallery. There are reproductions of pages from Catlin's sketchbooks and ephemera that demonstrate how the Indian Gallery was toured overseas, as well as some of the items Catlin collected in the field.