George Catlin’s incredibly intimate 1830s portraits of Native American Indians. Pt. 1.

I-O-Wáy, One of Black Hawk’s Principal Warriors (1832).
George Catlin by William Fisk.

George Catlin (1796 – 1872) was an American lawyer, painter, author, and traveler, who specialized in portraits of Native American Indians in the Old West. He also researched and documented their views on mouth breathing and wrote a book on the subject.

Catlin went on a total of five trips out to document the Indians in the 1830s. On returning east in 1838, he assembled his huge collection of paintings along with the numerous Indian artifacts he’d gathered into what he called his Indian Gallery, and took it on the road. The Catlin Indian Gallery roadshow delivered to the public lectures & tales; his personal recollections of life spent amongst Native American Indians. Catlin traveled with his Indian Gallery to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and New York. He hung his paintings “salon style”; side by side and one above another. Visitors identified each painting by the number on the frame, as listed in a catalogue that Catlin provided. Soon afterward, he began a lifelong effort to sell his collection to the U.S. government. The touring Indian Gallery did not attract the paying public Catlin needed to stay financially sound, and the U.S. Congress rejected his initial petition to purchase the works.

In 1839 Catlin took his collection across the Atlantic for a tour of European capitals. As a showman and entrepreneur, he initially attracted crowds to his Indian Gallery in London, Brussels, and Paris. The French critic and poet, Charles Baudelaire said of Catlin’s paintings, “He has brought back alive the proud and free characters of these chiefs, both their nobility and manliness.”

O-Tá-Wah, The Ottaway, a Warrior (1835).
Náh-Pope, Soup, Adviser To Black Hawk (1832).
Picturesque Clay Bluff, 1700 Miles Above St. Louis (1832).
No-Ho-Mun-Ya, One Who Gives No Attention (1844).
Shé-De-Ah, Wild Sage, a Wichita Woman (1834).
Shón-Ka, The Dog, Chief of Th.e Bad Arrow Points Band (1832)
Prairie Bluffs Burning (1832) George Catlin (American, 1796 – 1872).

Wash-ka-mon-ya, Fast Dancer, a Warrior (1844-1845).
Tcha-Káuk-O-Ko-Máugh, Great Chief, a Boy (1831).
No-Ho-Mun-Ya, One Who Gives No Attention (1844).
Scalp Dance, Sioux (1845-1848).

See-non-ty-a, an Iowa Medicine Man (1844-1845).
The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas (1844-1845).
Tís-Se-Wóo-Na-Tís, She Who Bathes Her Knees, Wife of The Chief (1832).
View In The Big Bend Of The Upper Missouri (1832).

Mah-Tó-He-Ha, Old Bear, a Medicine Man (1832).
Sha-Kó-Ka, Mint, a Pretty Girl (1832).
A-Sáw-Me-Saw, Roaring Thunder, Youngest Son of Black Hawk (1832)
Comanche Warrior Lancing An Osage, At Full Speed (1837-1839).
Wée-Sheet, Sturgeon’s Head, a Fox Warrior (1832).
hó-Me-Kós-See, The Wolf, a Chief (1832).
Aú-Nah-Kwet-To-Hau-Páy-O, One Sitting In The Clouds, a Boy (1831).
Kee-O-Kúk, The Watchful Fox, Chief of The Tribe, On Horseback (1835).
Oó-Je-En-Á-He-A, Woman Who Lives In a Bear’s Den (1832).
Pa-Ris-Ka-Roó-Pa, Two Crows, The Younger (1832).
Pa-Ris-Ka-Roó-Pa, Two Crows, a Chief (1832).
Nót-To-Way, a Chief (1835-1836).
Náh-Se-Ús-Kuk, Whirling Thunder, Eldest Son of Black Hawk (1832).
Meach-O-Shín-Gaw, Little White Bear, a Distinguished Brave (1832).
Máh-to-tóh-pa, Four Bears, Second Chief in Mourning.
Káw-Kaw-Ne-Chóo-A, a Brave (1828).
Háh-Je-Day-Ah’-Shee, Meeting Birds, a Brave (1835-1836).
Chin-Cha-Pee, Fire Bug That Creeps, Wife of Pigeon’s Egg Head (1832).
H’co-A-H’co-A-H’cotes-Min, No Horns On His Head, a Brave (1832).
Peh-Tó-Pe-Kiss, Eagle’s Ribs, a Piegan Chief (1832).
Kah-Béck-A, The Twin, Wife of Bloody Hand (1832).
Medicine Man, Performing His Mysteries Over a Dying Man (1832).
The Cutting Scene, Mandan O-kee-pa Ceremony, 1832.
Dying Buffalo, Shot with an Arrow (1832-1833).

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