• George Catlin (1796-1872) journeyed west five times in the 1830s to paint the Plains Indians and their way of life.• Catlin was the first artist to record the Plains Indians in their own territories. He admired them.• 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.• Today Catlins Indian Gallery is recognized as a great cultural treasure, offering rare insight into native cultures and a crucial chapter in American history.
• George Catlin is best known as a painter of the American Indians. After seeing a delegation of Plains Indians in Philadelphia, he decided to dedicate his life to recording the lives and customs of Native Americans. Soon after completing law school, Catlin became a professional artist. He traveled extensively throughout North America in the 1830s and he visited South America in the 1850s, painting hundreds of Indians and keeping detailed records of his journeys.• The National Gallery has more than 350 paintings by Catlin. Following his extensive travels, Catlin put his paintings on view in an exhibition he called The Indian Gallery.•
• When explorers started their journey from the Eastern United States to discover the Western United States, they encountered Native American cultures and communities and wildlife they may have never imagined. They encountered various Native American groups such as the Lakota Sioux and Blackfoot, the Comanches of the Western plains and mountains, and the Apaches, Navajo, Pueblo tribes of the American desert Southwest, to the groups of Pacific Northwest tribes such as the Bella Coola, the Haida, and the Kwakiuts. Most of the time, their encounters were friendly... although many times misunderstandings caused later conflict. The explorers also encountered the numerous critters of the Wild West--grizzley bears, wolverines, timber wolves, antelope, moose, elk, deer, skunks, porcupines, great horned owls, flying squirrels, bald eagles, turkey vultures, and other critters. In those days, photography wasnt yet well developed (sorry... bad pun)... so those in their exploratory groups who had any art skills wound up drawing a lot of what they saw in their journals. Some of these artsts came to more fame because their art was so realistic and dramatic. And many more modern artists came into the field to further this capture of images from the wild west. This Squidoo lens explores some of these artists and provides links and resources to more information on these amazing folks.
• Lesson 8Art History:Thomas Cole, 1801-1848, A View of the Mountain Pass (NGA )Project:Study the way artists make things look far away — perspective, color, detail, size. Draw a mountain scene and either paint it or use oil pastels. Lesson 9Art History:Albert Bierstadt, 1830-1902, Lake Lucerne (NGA)Project:Draw landscapes focusing on skies showing different types of weather. (First look for paintings showing a variety of skies.) Lesson 10Art History:George Catlin, 1796-1872, The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas( NGA)Project:Make sand paintings using Indian designs. (Draw design on posterboard, paint in with glue, sprinkle colored sand on.)or: make a buffalo mask. Cut a piece of brown cardboard into the general shape of a buffalo head, cut holes for the eyes and glue curled strips of brown paper to it. Lesson 11Art History:Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, Cracking the Whip ( Butler Institute of Art, Youngstown, Ohio)Project:Draw children at school or play.or: do the "Wilderness Watercolor" project as suggested in Discovering Great Artists. Lesson 12Art History:Charles Marion Russell, 1864-1926, Crippled But Still Coming (Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth)Project:Do a living tableau or draw or paint pictures that tell an exciting story.or: practice drawing horses.or: do the "Western Sunset" project in Discovering Great Artists. Think of a logo that you could use to sign your paintings. Russell used a buffalo head. Russells paintings also lend themselves very well to creative writing assignments — tell the story behind the painting. Lesson 13Art History:Frederick Remington, 1861-1900, A Dash for Timber (Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth)Project:Make an action sculpture of an animal, use 24 gauge wire or Sculpey clay.
• Frederic Remington - A Romantic?•• I always begin each artist discussion by writing the artist’s name on the blackboard along with the dates that he lived so the kids get familiar with seeing his name and a sense of the time we are going to talk about. This month we are teaching the kids about Frederic Remington. How I begin the lecture is by telling them that he was an illustrator just like Edward Hopper (who they learned about last month). I go to the blackboard and draw a picture of the shape of the USA. I explain to them that we live on the east coast of the US. I remind them about how the people got to the US by sailing on boats from England across the Atlantic ocean.• This leads to the topic of construction. I explain that here people settled and built banks, schools, and libraries. I point to the map of the US and explain there was still the whole west that was undeveloped. In the lecture that you have for class-it defines what “wild west” means.• I ask the kids if they know what the word “romantic” means and of course they giggle. I tell them, guess what Frederic Remington was called a romantic. Romantic means when you remember something in the past. Many times you hear people say “the good old days”- they make it out to be better than it was-well that was exactly what Frederic Remington did.• He made the “wild west” appear to be exciting and adventurous. Look how masculine they men look and how muscular the horses are in the painting above. –that’s what I mean when I say he was romantic in the way he painted them.• In fact, he didn’t have an easel and stand there in the dirt painting them. He was back on the east coast painting in the studio. What’s more he was living during the time of industrialization (make the kids say that word!) when they were building railroads in the west and towns were bustling. The “wild west” was he painted it was a thing of the past which is why he is called a romantic.
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