American Samizdat

Wednesday, November 13, 2002. *
George Catlin... Máh-to-tóh-pa, Four Bears, Second Chief, in Full Dress (1832, oil). From George Catlin and His Indian Gallery at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. "...When Catlin first traveled west in 1830, the United States Congress had just passed the Indian Removal Act, requiring Indians in the Southeast to resettle west of the Mississippi River. This vast forced migration - as well as smallpox epidemics and continuing incursions from trappers, miners, explorers, and settlers - created pressures on Indian cultures to adapt or perish. Seeing the devastation of many tribes, Catlin came to regard the frontier as a region of corruption. He portrayed the nobility of these still-sovereign peoples, but he was aware that he painted in sovereignty's twilight."
posted by Andrew at 7:41 AM
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