Mellon Collection - American
Travels with George Catlin
Jeffrey Allison, Paul Mellon Collection Educator and Statewide Programs Coordinator, VMFA
George Catlin recorded for posterity the appearances and customs of the Indian tribes of North America. Between 1830 and 1836, Catlin made five trips to the American West. From his visits to 58 tribes, he produced 485 paintings and collected over seven tons of artifacts. These he exhibited in the United States and Europe as Catlin's Indian Gallery. Throughout his life, Catlin struggled to keep the collection whole and pursued its acquisition by the newly created Smithsonian Institution. This lecture looks at Catlin's life from his travels through the American West to the end of his career when, facing bankruptcy, he traveled to South America and rekindled his interest in painting and the scientific recording of Native American life.