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Picturesque Bluffs above Prairie du Chien

1835-1836 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 19 5/8 x 27 1/2 in. (49.7 x 70.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.317 Not currently on view


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In addition to portraits of Native Americans, George Catlin captured images of the western landscape, and recorded his responses to the West’s remarkable beauty in his travel account Letters and Notes. “There is a something that fills and feeds the mind of an enthusiastic man,” Catlin wrote, “when he is thrown upon natural resources, amidst the rude untouched scenes of nature, which cannot be described; and I leave the world to imagine the feelings of pleasure with which I found myself again out of the din of artful life, among scenes of grandeur worthy the whole soul’s devotion, and admiration.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 52, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian

Figure group - male

Landscape - river

Landscape - Wisconsin - Prairie du Chien

Travel - water - canoe

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added