Art Galleries

"George Catlin - North American Indian Portfolio"

Mahady Gallery
Nov 06, 2021 - Dec 11, 2021

The exhibition will run from November 6 - December 11, in the Mahady Gallery

Opening reception is November 6 from 2-4 p.m.

Gallery talk will be on Wednesday November 17 at 3pm

George Catlin

North American Indian Portfolio, Hunting Scenes & Amusements

Born in 1796 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, George Catlin was an accomplished American painter, author and explorer who is credited as being the first great artist to travel widely among the North American Plains Indians to document in art the life and culture of the Indian peoples. Catlin’s impressive North American Indian portfolio includes twenty-five detailed, exquisitely lithographed images of amazing hunting and sporting scenes as well as Indian dance ceremonies such as The Buffalo Dance, The Snow-Shoe Dance and The Bear Dance. In addition to his art, Catlin is credited as a pioneer of the environmental movement, who championed the stewardship of our nation's natural resources.

Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio contains the results of his years of painting, living with and travelling amongst the Great Plains Indians. Catlin summarized the Native American as "an honest, hospitable, faithful, brave, warlike, cruel, revengeful, relentless, -- yet honorable, contemplative and religious being." In a famous passage from the preface of his North American Indian Portfolio, Catlin describes how the sight of several tribal chiefs in Philadelphia led to his resolution to record their way of life: "the history and customs of such a people, preserved by pictorial illustrations, are themes worthy of the lifetime of one man, and nothing short of the loss of my life shall prevent me from visiting their country and becoming their historian." He saw no future for either their way of life or their very existence, and with these thoughts always at the back of his mind he worked, against time, setting himself a truly punishing schedule, to record what he saw. From 1832 to 1837 he spent the summer months sketching the tribes and then finished his pictures in oils during the winter. The record he left is unique, both in its breadth and also in the sympathetic understanding that his images constantly demonstrate. A selection of the greatest of images from this record were published in the North American Indian Portfolio in an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible.

All Current Exhibitions | All Future Exhibitions | Exhibition Archive