November 24, 2005 — April 25, 2009
George Catlin's Indian Gallery is hung in the Grand Salon on the second floor of the Renwick Gallery in a way that recalls the Indian Gallery as Catlin displayed it during his tours in Europe. This installation features several hundred portraits, landscapes and scenes of American Indian life. Catlin, a lawyer turned painter, visited fifty tribes living west of the Mississippi River from present day North Dakota to Oklahoma from 1830 to 1836 to record the ""manners and customs"" of Native Americans. These paintings—drawn from the nearly complete surviving set of Catlin's first Indian Gallery painted in the 1830s—are considered an authentic record of early Plains Indian culture and one of the most important collections at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
George Catlin's Indian Gallery is the second installation of Catlin's work in the Grand Salon, following the Smithsonian American Art Museum's acclaimed, larger exhibition George Catlin and His Indian Gallery which closed at the Renwick on January 20, 2003 and toured nationally in 2004. The previous installation of Catlin's paintings was on view in the Grand Salon from February 1, 2003 through January 4, 2004.