Exhibitions & Collections

Catlin Ball Players  Catlin

George Catlin. Plate 21. Ball Players from Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio. (London: Chatto & Windus. Vincent, Brooks, lithographer, ca. 1875) Loan courtesy of Jack and Valerie Guenther.

George Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio is among the most famous color plate books relating to North America’s native population produced in the 19th century.  It is one of the most detailed and prolific series of prints of the American West from the frontier era.

The Briscoe Western Art Museum is pleased to showcase a very rare deluxe issue of the thirty-one-plate edition of Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio hand-colored and mounted on card stock. 

Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio contains the results of his years of painting, living with, and traveling amongst the Great Plains Indians. From 1832 to 1837 he spent the summer months sketching the tribes and then finished his pictures in oils during the winter. He painted around 600 highly realistic and powerfully projected portraits of Indians, carefully recording their dress, culture, and way of life. In addition to publishing the present work, Catlin also spent from 1837 to 1852 touring the United States, England, France, and Holland, exhibiting his collection of paintings with examples of Indian crafts, and accompanied by representative members of the Indian tribes. A financial reversal in 1852 meant that Catlin lost his collection. He spent his later years making trips to South and Central America, sketching the native peoples there.  

Buffalo Hunt Chase
                  The Bear Dance

(Lft) George Catlin. Plate 5. Buffalo Hunt, Chase from Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio. (London: Chatto & Windus. Vincent, Brooks, lithographer, ca. 1875) Loan courtesy of Jack and Valerie Guenther.

(Rt)George Catlin. Plate 18. The Bear Dance from Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio. (London: Chatto & Windus. Vincent, Brooks, lithographer, ca. 1875) Loan courtesy of Jack and Valerie Guenther.