Take Two: George Catlin Revisits the West | Runs Through May 31, 2015
Take Two features 17 paintings from George Catlin's Cartoon Collection, showing the cultural life of the Native Americans he encountered in his travels. This special exhibition includes thirteen paintings that have never been exhibited in Texas.
"Catlin's art is a natural fit for our Museum, since Charles Russell and Frederic Remington, two of the most prominent artists in our permanent collection, also devoted themselves to Western themes, with a great awareness of what was unfolding in the West during their lifetime. Catlin, who recorded the cultural life of the Native Americans he encountered on his travels west of the Mississippi in the 1830s, painted anticipating a time in the future when the manners and customs of the American Indian would be lost. Remington and Russell, who depicted life in the post-Civil War American West, painted with a sense of nostalgia for a West that was then passing or had already passed." - Mary Burke, Sid Richardson Museum Director
“Catlin was the most influential American Indian painter of the 19th century, because he showed Indian life in Indian country—not just portraits, but in fact scenes of buffalo hunts, village life, dances, and amusements— that he had witnessed. He was a participant-observer. His claim on the public’s attention was his conviction that Indian cultures were vanishing and would be known by future generations only through the visual record he was preserving. ... There is no body of artistic images of the Indians comparable to Catlin’s in terms of being early and influential because of his exhibitions and books.” - Brian W. Dippie, Ph.D., Take Two Guest Curator
The exhibition also features a rare deluxe edition of the most famous book published in the 19th century on the American Indian, Catlin’s “Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians,” and two of Catlin’s American Indian portfolios will be on loan from a private collection.
The title of this exhibition, Take Two: George Catlin Revisits the West, refers to Catlin’s recreation of his first Indian Gallery. Relying on his memory of experiences with the American Indians in the 1830s, he drew from images in his first Indian Gallery, adding new subjects until he completed his second Indian Gallery. According to Dippie, “The two goals of the exhibition are to illuminate the guiding principles behind Catlin's entire enterprise and to focus on Southern Plains subjects with a Texas twist.”
“Buffalo Hunt,” a bronze sculpture by Charles M. Russell (1824-1926), modeled in 1905 (cast # unknown, ca.1928), will also be on loan from a private collection. Both Russell and Catlin returned to the theme of the buffalo, and particularly buffalo hunts, repeatedly in their art.
“The National Gallery of Art is very pleased to join with The Sid Richardson Museum in presenting an important group of paintings by George Catlin, one of the first artists to record the appearance and customs of Native Americans living in the West.” - Earl A. Powell III, Director, National Gallery of Art.