Lot 106: Rare undated handwritten letter by the great American Indian artist George Catlin. Catlin (July 26, 1796 - December 23, 1872) was an American painter, author, and traveler who specialized in portraits of Native Americans in the Old West. Travelling to the American West five times during the 1830s, Catlin was the first white man to depict Plains Indians in their native territory. In 1839 Catlin in need of money took his collection across the Atlantic for a tour of European capitals. Catlin opened his Indian Gallery in London's Egyptian Hall in January 1840 with great success. He used tableaux vivants, staged re-creations of Indian dances and rituals with white men made up to imitate Plains Indians-the first Wild West show of its kind. As a showman and entrepreneur, he initially attracted crowds to his Indian Gallery in London, Brussels, and Paris. The French critic Charles Baudelaire remarked on Catlin's paintings, "He has brought back alive the proud and free characters of these chiefs, both their nobility and manliness. This letter and the unused ticket was written while in London, the letter reads in part "You had the politeness to offer, at some time, to give me and a friend a peep into the Palace", etc., signed "Yours very truly/ Geo. Catlin", 7 x 4-1/2 in., very good, slightly toned and sunned together with a very scarce original ticket to his North American Indian Museum exhibit dated Sept. 6, 1841 at the Indian Museum, entitling 2 persons to see the Tableaux Vivants of the Red Indians, 7-1/2 x 4-3/4 in., slightly toned otherwise very good.
Oak Auctions' Rare Autograph and Manuscript Auction
Thursday, 19th November 2015
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