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George Catlin Art Exhibit Opens at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

Posted on 2/16/2016

Washburn, N.D.-An exhibit of all 25 original lithographs in the George Catlin's Hunting Scenes and Amusements collection opens Saturday, February 20, at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn. The exhibit runs through July 17.

The collection represents some of the earliest published images of the Upper Great Plains. George Catlin traveled through much of today's central and western United States in the 1830s, writing about and painting the lives and cultures of the American Indian people he met. In London in 1844, he contracted with the legendary print shop of Day and Haghe to publish full-color lithographs based on his paintings.

In 2008, Bismarck philanthropist Alvera Bergquist helped the Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation acquire a first edition set for its collection. Last year this treasure of regional history became property of the State of North Dakota when the Foundation transferred its assets to the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department. For the preservation of the artworks and to leave space for other exhibits, the collection is only visible to the public at select times.

The exhibit is displayed in the popular "salon style" of the 19th century. Also used by George Catlin, it refers to hanging multiple artworks vertically on the wall. Visitors to the exhibit may take booklets that reproduce Catlin's original portfolio guide, allowing them to read a narrative of each artwork in Catlin's own words.

Hunting Scenes and Amusements is part of an ongoing series of exhibits at the Center illustrating the unique art of the Upper Great Plains. This year they include a current exhibit of Chip Liebel's leather art and upcoming exhibits of wet plate photographs by Shane Balkowitsch and the paintings of Vern Erickson. All are co-sponsored by the Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is located 40 miles north of Bismarck at the intersection of US 83 and ND 200A in Washburn. Admission is included in the normal entry fee to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center: $7.50 for adults, $5 for adults with a North Dakota Parks and Recreation vehicle pass, and free for members of the Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation. All students receive free admission as well thanks to a grant from the MDU Resources Foundation.


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