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George Catlin Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
George Catlin (1796-1872)
Catlin was born in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Indians had a strong influence on Catlin's life because his mother had once been captured by them; they were his subject matter. In 1831 Catlin set off for St. Louis, became friends with General William Clark and ventured up the Platte River. Later he traveled up the Missouri to Ft. Union on a steamboat and returned by canoe to sketch places he had missed. The paintings from these trips form a magnificent exhibit and were presented to Congress for sale in 1838, only to be rejected. Catlin took his works to Europe where they were displayed in the Lourve and elsewhere and admission was charged to see them. They were then hung at Sharkys casino in northern Nevada until it closed in 1999.
Assinneboine Warrior
Missouri River


General William Clark, 1830
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.71.36

Catlin painted William Clark, the famous explorer of the Lewis and Clark expedition, in St. Louis during his first trip west in 1830. As superintendent of Indian affairs in the West, Clark issued passports to travelers in Indian country. The indefatigable explorer also operated an Indian museum, stocked with portraits and artifacts, in a wing of his home. Earlier, Catlin had seen objects collected by Lewis and Clark at Charles Willson Peale's museum in Philadelphia.
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