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Old 01-28-2007, 10:36 AM   #1
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Question Early Paintings

What can we learn from early paintings?

Consider the following:

Mh-to-th-pa (Four Bears) - Mandan
by George Catlin, 1832


La-do-ke-a (Buffalo Bull) - Pawnee
by George Catlin, 1832


Stu-mick-o-sucs (Buffalo's Back Fat) - Blood
by George Catlin, 1832


Peh-t-pe-kiss (Eagle's Ribs) - Piegan
by George Catlin, 1832


Pa-rs-ka-ro-pa (Two Crows) - Apsaalooke
by George Catlin, 1832
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Old 02-20-2007, 09:51 AM   #2
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We can learn - but we must be careful too.

Paintings and Journals need to be used together.

You can learn much from the paintings of many artists - but you must also use the journals of the artists too.

This is why I am constantly telling people to cross reference the works of Catlin, Bodmer, Kane and others - AND read the books (read the journals of the artist and the other travelers with them).

As mentioned, many of the paintings were only sketched in the field and later done in the studio. But some were completely done and finished in the field and are very accurate. Remember Bodmer was accurate in detail (even down to the bead and the quill). Catlin was more accurate in expression and emotion. They had complete different styles. Kane was a combination of both as were many other artists.

Don't forget about the works of Charles Bird King too. He did exquiste portraits of Natives from the South East, Mid-West and West.

And finally, you can even use the early works of Smith and Bertram and more from the 17th Century too.

Remember, you must combine the use of the drawings with the discription in the journal for really good research.

The same is true of the photographs of the 19th Century. Don't rely on everything you see - read the journals of the photographers.
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Old 02-20-2007, 07:15 PM   #3
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So true. The journals place the artworks into context.

Also, it should be remembered that a painting is always going to be influenced by the artist's own style. What might be an overlook or omission to some, may simply be due to the type of brush strokes and paint chemistry the artist chose to use for that particular work of art.
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:35 AM   #4
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Excellent!

Very, Very True Wakalapi!

An excellent example is the Charles Bird King portrait of Yoholo Micco. Close inpection of the work makes one think that Yoholo Micco's sash is nothing more than ribbon work or large pieces of cloth. When in actuality it is a very unique fingerwoven sash.

Another problem is that people argue when it was done - 1826?, 1830?, 1836?, or even after 1840? Many copies were made of the original done by King in 1826. And each of these copies are a bit different showing the various interpretations by the artist.
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Old 02-27-2007, 07:20 PM   #5
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It's easy to start firing away with a really intricate design intended to tell a complex story. But then get lazy or find a way to "condense" the story into a blur, as long as it's the right color and looks good on the wall in the end -- it's what sells. Same was true back then!
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