RED MAN'S BONES: George Catlin, Artist and Showman

RED MAN'S BONES: George Catlin, Artist and Showman

BENITA EISLER    Book Number: 85042    Product format: Hardback

George Catlin (1796-1872) has been described as 'the first artist of the West' as no white man before him lived among and painted the Native American tribes of the Northern Plains. An unsuccessful miniaturist, Catlin found his calling in the painting of (his words) 'a vanishing race' because of their 'extermination' by a government greedy for their lands and resources. Between 1830-36 he painted some 600 individual portraits of chiefs, warriors, braves, squaws and children belonging to the 30 tribes living along the upper Missouri and was the only artist ever allowed to depict O-kee-pa, the harrowing Manadan coming of age ceremony (think of Richard Harris in 'A Man Called Horse' and multiply by ten). Unsurprisingly, political forces thwarted his ambition to tour his 'Indian Gallery' and he began 30 years' self-imposed exile abroad where, for a while, his paintings and writings made him the toast of London and Paris, with a whole section of the Louvre dedicated to his work. But it all went wrong. Based on the success of his art, he decided to tour 'live' with troupes of Ojibwa and Iowa, changing from artist to showman in a terribly misjudged venture with the world-famous P.T. Barnum, from which Catlin emerged broke and a pariah while Barnum, who bankrolled and organised much of the fiasco came out of things relatively unsullied - tragedy and loss would ensue for Catlin and his Indians. Eisler's book brings to life a true American original and the Native Americans he loved, yet also exploited, personifying George Catlin as a figure of controversy, torn between the conflicting demands of art and success. With 16 pages of colour and b/w artworks and early photos. US first edition of 2013.
Published price: £22.99
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Additional product information

ISBN 9780393066166
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