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The Red Man's Bones

George Catlin, Artist And Showman

By Benita Eisler

The first biography in over sixty years of a great American artist whose paintings are more famous than the man who made them.

George Catlin has been called the “first artist of the West,” as none before him lived among and painted the Native American tribes of the Northern Plains. After a false start as a painter of miniatures, Catlin found his calling: to fix the image of a “vanishing race” before their “extermination”—his word—by a government greedy for their lands. In the first six years of the 1830s, he created over six hundred portraits—unforgettable likenesses of individual chiefs, warriors, braves, squaws, and children belonging to more than thirty tribes living along the upper Missouri River.

Political forces thwarted Catlin’s ambition to sell what he called his “Indian Gallery” as a national collection, and in 1840 the artist began three decades of self-imposed exile abroad. For a time, his exhibitions and writings made him the most celebrated American expatriate in London and Paris. He was toasted by Queen Victoria and breakfasted with King Louis-Philippe, who created a special gallery in the Louvre to show his pictures. But when he started to tour “live” troupes of Ojibbewa and Iowa, Catlin and his fortunes declined: He changed from artist to showman, and from advocate to exploiter of his native performers. Tragedy and loss engulfed both.

This brilliant and humane portrait brings to life George Catlin and his Indian subjects for our own time. An American original, he still personifies the artist as a figure of controversy, torn by conflicting demands of art and success.

8 pages of color, 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations

Format

Book

Availability

1 available at Main (Downtown)
  • B Catlin, Biography

Publish Date

2013

ISBN

0393066169


Format: Book
Author: Eisler, Benita
Summary: Highlights the life and work of the American painter, author, and traveler who specialized in images of Native Americans and who advocated for them before ultimately exploiting them in a live show that brought tragedy to both the artist and his performers.
Title: The red man's bones : George Catlin, artist and showman / Benita Eisler.
Publisher Date: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2013]
Subject: Catlin, George, 1796-1872. Painters -- United States -- Biography Indians in art West (U.S.) -- In art
Isbn: 0393066169 9780393066166
Current Holds: 0
System Items Available: 1
System Items Total: 1
Call Number: B Catlin
Oclc:
Upc:
Bib Id: 455929

Format: Book
Author: Eisler, Benita
Summary: Highlights the life and work of the American painter, author, and traveler who specialized in images of Native Americans and who advocated for them before ultimately exploiting them in a live show that brought tragedy to both the artist and his performers.
Title: The red man's bones : George Catlin, artist and showman / Benita Eisler.
Edition: First edition.
Publisher, Date: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2013]
Description: viii, 498 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Subjects: Catlin, George, 1796-1872.
Subjects: Painters -- United States -- Biography
Subjects: Indians in art
Subjects: West (U.S.) -- In art
Notes: Includes bibliographical references (pages [411]-442) and index.
LCCN: 2013013973
ISBN: 0393066169
ISBN: 9780393066166
Requests: 0
Available Copies: 1
Total Copies: 1
Call Number: B Catlin