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George Catlin (1796-1872) a lawyer, portrait painter and author, wandered alone painting among the Native Americans of the American West. Often the first white man the Indians had ever seen, they permitted him to live with them and to witness and record their daily lives and ceremonies. Catlin took five trips between 1830 and 1836, eventually visiting fifty tribes. He returned to the West seveal more times to record additional tribes and painted stunning portraits of their leaders. Catlin produced more than 500 paintings and gathered a substantial collection of artifacts. In 1841 Catlin published Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians, in two volumes, with about 300 engravings. Three years later he published 25 plates, entitled Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio, and, in 1848, Eight Years’ Travels and Residence in Europe. From 1852 to 1857 he traveled through South and Central America and later returned for further exploration in the Far West. The record of these later years is contained in Last Rambles amongst the Indians of the Rocky Mountains and the Andes (1868) and My Life among the Indians.

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