2009 Winter Catalog, William R. Talbot Fine Art, Antique Maps & Prints Home

2009 Winter Catalog > 4. Catlin, “Nord-Amerikas Indianer och de.

4. George Catlin. “Nord-Amerikas Indianer och de, under ett åttaårigt vistande bland de vildaste af deras stammar, uppefvade Äfventyr och Öden” (Stockholm, P.G. Berg, 1848). Large octavo. Complete with 23 lithographed plates, hand-colored and highlighted with gum Arabic. Original blind-embossed black cloth, 1/4 brown leather, gilt tooling and titling on spine, green decoration on page edges. Corners restored, some damage to rear board. Manuscript notations in pencil and ink on endpage. Even age toning. Overall excellent.

Price: $7,500. [ Order ]

This is the first Swedish edition of Catlin’s North American Indians, Written During Eight Years Travel Amongst the Wildest Tribes. The same title had been published in German in 1846. The work is something of a hybrid of his two earlier works Letters And Notes On The Manners, Customs, And Condition Of The North American Indians (1841) and Catlinís North American Indian Portfolio, (1844). The Continental editions of Catlin are considered scarce.

The present volume contains an outstanding collection of 23 hand-colored plates adapted from Catlin’s 1844 Portfolio. Striking scenes of buffalo hunts and rituals make this a very desirable work. The color overall remains bold and fresh, highlighting the wealth of details in costumes and weapons.

During the 1830s, Catlin lived for years among the various North American Indian tribes, studying their ways. His published works provide us with the most authentic anthropological record of these already vanishing people.

A young lawyer turned portraitist, George Catlin traveled west from his home in Pennsylvania in 1830 to fulfill his dream of recording on canvas the North American Indians and their way of life. It was his desire, he said, to paint “faithful portraits of their principal personages, both men and women, from each tribe, views of their villages games, etc., and [to keep] full notes on their character and history. I designed, also, to procure their costumes, and a complete collection of their manufactures and weapons, and to perpetuate them in a Gallery Unique, for the instruction of the ages.” (Wagner)

Catlin’s Gallery included more than four hundred painted portraits and scenes of tribal life, from which the illustrations for his books were drawn.

Catlin described the American Indian as “an honest, hospitable, faithful, brave, warlike, cruel, revengeful, relentless,óyet honourable, contemplative, and religious being.” He saw no future for either the Indian way of life or his very existence, and with these thoughts always at the back of his mind, he worked against time, setting himself a truly punishing schedule, to record what he saw.

The record Catlin created is unique, both in the breadth of information and in the depth of the sympathetic understanding that his images demonstrate. Catlinís study remains one of the most widely circulated works on American Indians written in the nineteenth century, and the illustrations are valued for their highly important visual documentation of indigenous Indian life in the American West.

Ref.: Wagner-Camp-Becker 84:14.

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