Chairman Richard Wright opened the meeting promptly at 1030 a.m. and advised of seven apologies. He also gave an update on member Bill McNicol who is comfortable in a Care Home but not in the best of health.
Under “Initial Notices” Treasurer Roy Smith issued the Annual Accounts and took questions from the floor.
Today saw a popular and regular returning Speaker Professor Martin Curzon with his talk on ” Artists of the Great Plains: George Caitlin and Frederick Remington”.
Professor Curzon gave the background to these two American artists, born sixty five years apart, and displayed their developing art styles but also highlighted their different and contrasting approach to the subject in question–American Indians (First Nation).
In the early 19th century there were still many Indian tribes and huge Indian territories but this would drastically change as attitudes to Indians hardened and there was an ever moving settler population heading west and pushing the natives further out. The exploration and later settlement of the mid west was facilitated by the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804–1806 and by the Cumberland Gap Pathway used by frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone.
George Caitlin, born 1796, studied law 1817–1824 and then moved to Philadelphia where he started painting in oils. His interest in America’s “Vanishing Race” was inspired by a visiting American Indian delegation to Philadelphia and by relics from the Lewis/Clark expedition owned by his friend Charles Wilson Peale. He set out to record the appearance and customs of American Native People. . His initial basic efforts improved over time and Professor Curzon showed us pictures of Seneca Chief Red Jacket, Buffalo Bull’s Back Fat and The Surrounder amongst others. Caitlin felt a gallery of Indian paintings should be established but lacked support.. He moved to St. Louis which was the base for his various Indian trips in the 1830’s. Whilst he showed his paintings in American cities they were not well received and in 1839 he crossed the Atlantic to tour European Capitals. He died in 1872 and most of all his first Indian Gallery Set is housed in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Frederick Remington , born in 1861 in New York, was a controversial artist who, in simple terms, regarded Frontiersmen and Cowboys as “good” (heroes) and Native Americans as “bad” (villains). Whilst he became an accomplished artist and sculptor and successful in his lifetime, his depiction of the American Native Indian still causes upset today. His later works show “Impressionist” influences and his works include The Bronco Buster, The Cowboy and the Apaches amongst many. He died at an early age of forty eight due to peritonitis.
The excellent presentation was very well illustrated with slides and audience interest was high as evidenced by the number of questions at the end.
The Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirt five attendees was given by Ian Blyth.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY.