Thursday, June 29, 2006

Recalling George Catlin's Painted Images Of Native Americans Which Toured The New Old World (Europe) In The Middle Of The 19th Century

George Catlin's 'Indian Gallery'
(Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.)
(Currently open and on view indefinitely after touring the United States, 2002-2005; Smithsonian museums are free of admission charge.)

"George Catlin's Indian Gallery" is hung in the Grand Salon on the second floor of the Smithsonian Institution's Renwick Gallery [across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House and the U.S. War Department, since renamed the Old Executive Office Building] in a way that recalls the Indian Gallery as Catlin displayed it during his tours in Europe. This installation features several hundred portraits, landscapes, and scenes of American Indian life. Catlin, a lawyer turned painter, visited 50 tribes living west of the Mississippi River from present day North Dakota to Oklahoma from 1830 to 1836 to record the "manners and customs" of Native Americans. These paintings — drawn from the nearly complete surviving set of Catlin's first Indian Gallery painted in the 1830s — are considered an authentic record of early Plains Indian culture and one of the most important collections at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Can you recognize who this George Catlin painting depicts and the famous Native American leader with whom he was associated?

Image credit: Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.


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