Driven by an obsession to capture history on his canvas, 19th-century artist George Catlin painted the remarkable “manners and customs” of a rapidly diminishing race: the American Indian. From 1830–36 his artistic quest set him on a path across the Plains, along the same trail cut by Lewis and Clark just 30 years earlier. In these six years of passionate creation, Catlin made hundreds of works of art; these canvases became the foundation of his Indian Gallery.
This exhibition displayed more than 120 works from the nearly complete surviving set of Catlin’s first Indian Gallery. A crown jewel in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection, George Catlin and His Indian Gallery showcased the empathetic portraits and picturesque frontier landscapes that make up this important record of our country’s history.
The 288-page exhibition catalog George Catlin and His Indian Gallery (ISBN 0393052176 ) includes 275 illustrations.
George Catlin and His Indian Gallery was organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The Kansas City venue was supported by the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation, UMB Bank, n.a., trustee; the Marguerite M. Peet Museum Trust, Marguerite Peet Foster and UMB Bank, n.a., co-trustees; and the Campbell-Calvin Fund and Elizabeth C. Bonner Charitable Trust for special exhibitions.
George Catlin, American (1796–1872). Stu-mick-o-súcks, Buffalo Bull's Back Fat, Head Chief, Blood Tribe, Blackfoot/Kainai, 1832. Oil on canvas, 29 x 24 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.149.