The Red Man's Bones: George Catlin, Artist and Showman

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9780393066166: The Red Man's Bones: George Catlin, Artist and Showman
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George Catlin has been called the "first artist of the West," as none before him lived among and painted the Native American tribes of the Northern Plains. After a false start as a painter of miniatures, Catlin found his calling: to fix the image of a "vanishing race" before their "extermination"-his word-by a government greedy for their lands. In the first six years of the 1830s, he created over six hundred portraits-unforgettable likenesses of individual chiefs, warriors, braves, squaws, and children belonging to more than thirty tribes living along the upper Missouri River. Political forces thwarted Catlin's ambition to sell what he called his "Indian Gallery" as a national collection, and in 1840 the artist began three decades of self-imposed exile abroad. For a time, his exhibitions and writings made him the most celebrated American expatriate in London and Paris. He was toasted by Queen Victoria and breakfasted with King Louis-Philippe, who created a special gallery in the Louvre to show his pictures. But when he started to tour "live" troupes of Ojibbewa and Iowa, Catlin and his fortunes declined: He changed from artist to showman, and from advocate to exploiter of his native performers. Tragedy and loss engulfed both. This brilliant and humane portrait brings to life George Catlin and his Indian subjects for our own time. An American original, he still personifies the artist as a figure of controversy, torn by conflicting demands of art and success.

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Review:

Engrossing. . . . An elegant and skillful writer, Eisler captures Catlin's many roles and notes how, even today, he remains a 'contentious' figure.

Engrossing...An elegant and skillful writer, Eisler captures Catlin's many roles and notes how, even today, he remains a 'contentious' figure.

Marvelous ... wonderfully nuanced and compelling ... Ms. Eisler's book is far and away the best biography of Catlin in existence. --Jonathan Lopez

Pitch-perfect... [Eisler] is a skilled writer, showing both flair and economy. --Tim Bross

[A] lively and well-researched biography.

Engrossing An elegant and skillful writer, Eisler captures Catlin s many roles and notes how, even today, he remains a 'contentious' figure. "

A sparkling biography of the artist and impresario George Catlin, so much an American original that he lived most of his life abroad. Rich in exceptional feats, odd twists, and wrong turns, Red Man's Bones captivates completely. --Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Cleopatra: A Life"

Through her impeccable scholarship, Benita Eisler masterfully illuminates the tragic life of 19th Century artist George Catlin, America's forgotten portraitist of Native American life. The Red Man's Bones is that rare kind of 'warts and all' history, showing the real Catlin while successfully making the case for his elevation to the pantheon of great American artists. --Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire"

An elegant, thoughtful new biography. --Kate Tuttle"

Marvelous wonderfully nuanced and compelling Ms. Eisler's book is far and away the best biography of Catlin in existence. --Jonathan Lopez"

About the Author:

Benita Eisler's subject is the life and work of artists, and their worlds. She has written on the Romantics, Byron, Chopin, and George Sand, and is the author of a dual biography of early modernists Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. She lives in New York City.

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Book Description WW Norton & Co, United States, 2013. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. George Catlin has been called the "first artist of the West," as none before him lived among and painted the Native American tribes of the Northern Plains. After a false start as a painter of miniatures, Catlin found his calling: to fix the image of a "vanishing race" before their "extermination"-his word-by a government greedy for their lands. In the first six years of the 1830s, he created over six hundred portraits-unforgettable likenesses of individual chiefs, warriors, braves, squaws, and children belonging to more than thirty tribes living along the upper Missouri River. Political forces thwarted Catlin's ambition to sell what he called his "Indian Gallery" as a national collection, and in 1840 the artist began three decades of self-imposed exile abroad. For a time, his exhibitions and writings made him the most celebrated American expatriate in London and Paris. He was toasted by Queen Victoria and breakfasted with King Louis-Philippe, who created a special gallery in the Louvre to show his pictures. But when he started to tour "live" troupes of Ojibbewa and Iowa, Catlin and his fortunes declined: He changed from artist to showman, and from advocate to exploiter of his native performers. Tragedy and loss engulfed both. This brilliant and humane portrait brings to life George Catlin and his Indian subjects for our own time. An American original, he still personifies the artist as a figure of controversy, torn by conflicting demands of art and success. Seller Inventory # BZV9780393066166

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