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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Picturing the American Buffalo: George Catlin and Modern Native American Artists

Smithsonian American Art Museum / Washington, D.C. / Art

“If my life be spared, nothing shall stop me from visiting every nation of Indians on the Continent of North America,” proclaimed the painter George Catlin. He first traveled west in 1830—the year of the Indian Removal Act—and raced against settler colonists to document landscapes and lives before irreversible changes took hold. He also captured the buffalo before its near extinction. For Catlin, the buffalo signified the dawning threat of U.S. expansion. Along with 36 of his paintings, the exhibition includes 10 contemporary Native interpretations of the animal. Once a symbol of an idealized American West, the buffalo has become a measure of loss. —C.J.F.

Smithsonian American Art Museum F St NW &, 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, United States
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