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The American West and the Artist Explorer Tradition

Now available through Art Bridges:

The American West and the Artist Explorer Tradition

For many in the nineteenth century, the West was a mythical frontier full of possibility, danger, and discovery. Artists like Karl Bodmer (Swiss, 1809-1893), George Catlin (American, 1796-1872), and Peter Rindisbacher (Swiss, 1806-1834) set about on expedition-like journeys with the goal to document foreign landscapes and inhabitants that they viewed as inevitably vanishing or irrevocably changing. These romantic depictions of the environment and Indigenous peoples provide a glimpse into a constructed reality that speaks of Western expansion and Manifest Destiny.

This exhibition features works on paper by Bodmer, Caitlin, and Rindisbacher that provide insight into the places and peoples these artist-explorers encountered during a time of rapid change. Each artist’s composition, though romanticized, gives insight into the great diversity of Indigenous peoples and the environment within which they lived at that time. While the subjects that Bodmer, Caitlin, and Rindisbacher depicted did not cease to exist, these works act as a representation of how Euro-Americans viewed the West at a pivotal point in American history.

Organizer: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Space Requirements: 600-1,000 sf

Supporting Material: Didactics and extended label text

Tour Duration: 2-3 venues at 8-10 weeks each

*Art Bridges Partner Institutions are eligible for financial support through an Exhibition Project. If you’d like to apply for support – and become a partner – start here.

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Tour Schedule

Available in 2021.

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