Art: Chronicler of a Dying Race

With honest craft, George Catlin painted Indians as they were

Malevolent but pathetic, dying but dangerous, the buffalo looms from the canvas in all his massive black bulk, with the mythic menace of a dying Minotaur. Two linked tents frame a ceremony in a design as elegant as that on a Japanese screen. An Indian family flees from an approaching prairie fire whose stylized billows Charles Burchfield might have envied, across a field of endless prairie grass that Andrew Wyeth might have emulated. A Blackfoot chief stares at the viewer with the arrogance...

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