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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.
Choctaw
Seminole
Assinneboine Warrior
Sioux
Clark
Kaskaskia
Missouri River

Viewer

St. Louis from the River Below, 183233
oil
19 3/8 x 26 3/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Catlin began his first long sojourn in the wilderness on the steamboat Yellowstone, which serviced the American Fur Company's trading posts along the Missouri River. In 1832, its second year of operation, the Yellowstone became the first steamboat to chug from the frontier capital of St. Louis all the way up the Missouri to the mouth of the Yellowstone River in present-day North Dakota, taking Catlin deep into the frontier.
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