The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters



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George Catlin


American Realist Painter

Education - Self-Taught Painter

Cause of Death - Heart Failure

Biography Information  the Painter

Catlin was born in countryside of rural Pennsylvania. He spent his boyhood years roaming the countryside with sketchbook in hand. In the evening time his mother regaled him with wild stories of her life among a local Native American tribe. Mrs. Catlin had been kidnapped by Indians and loved to reminisce about her captivity. Like most farm children in the 1700s,  young Catlin was home schooled. As a young man he attended law school but soon ditched the courtroom and headed out west to record the lives of Native Americans.

George Catlin Quotations  

"Of the thousands and millions, therefore, of these poor fellows who are dead, and whom we have thrown into their graves, there is nothing that I could now say that would do them any good while there is a debt we are owing to those of them who are yet living, which I think justly demands our attention, and all our sympathies at this moment. "-- George Catlin

"I have seen him shrinking from civilized approach, which came with all its vices, like the dead of night upon him. I have seen him gaze and then retreat like the frightened deer ... seen him shrinking from the soil and haunts of his boyhood, bursting the strongest ties which bound him to the earth and its pleasures. I have seen him set fire to his wigwam and smooth over the graves of his fathers ... clap his hand in silence over his mouth, and take the last look over his fair hunting ground, and turn his face in sadness to the setting sun. All this I have seen performed in nature's silent dignity ... and I have seen as often the approach of the bustling, busy, talking, whistling, hopping, elated and exulting white man, with the first dip of the ploughshare, making sacrilegious trespass on the bones of the valiant dead .... I have seen the grand and irresistible march of civilization. I have seen this splendid juggernaut rolling on and beheld its sweeping desolation, and held converse with the happy thousands, living as yet beyond its influence, who have not been crushed, nor yet have dreamed of its approach." -- George Catlin


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