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Travellers and Explorers

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George Catlin
Name : George Catlin

George Catlin (1796-1872)

Although he trained as a lawyer, George Catlin chose the life of an artist, author and traveller and is best known for his paintings of Native Americans. During the 1830s he travelled among the Indigenous Peoples of the Great Plains several times, writing about them and painting them. He created a touring 'Indian Gallery' travelling around America to display his collection of paintings and artifacts. In 1852 he was forced to sell his collection to pay off his debts. He spent the last 20 years of his life attempting to recreate it.


"It has defeated and almost discouraged all my plans of

returning to my own country…"


In a letter dated 27th July 1862 George Catlin discusses wood cut casts and their price in quite some detail. He admits that he is poor and concerned about the cost and being able to recoup the amount through book sales in France. He writes from Ostende (Belgium) and is dismayed that he cannot return to America due to the conflict there.

The American Civil War began in 1861 and lasted until 1865.


View George Catlin's letter [opens in a new window]


Image Rights: National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the Smithsonian American Art Museum; gift of Miss May C. Kinney Ernest C. Kinney and Bradford Wickes 1945 https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/




Travellers and Explorers (page 1 of 5)