Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2013 Issue

Western Americana from the William Reese Company


Ioway Indians meet French King, and other Catlin illustrations.

George Catlin could probably retire if he were alive today on the price of a copy of his North American Indian Portfolio, but during his time, money was a struggle. Catlin took his illustrations on the road to make a living. Viewing them and hearing his tales was particularly popular in Europe. To make his show even more compelling, Catlin began bringing some live Indians along with him. In 1845, he took a group of Ioway Indians to Paris. Item 5 is a large hand-colored engraving of 10 panels. Nine are Catlin illustrations of various Indian scenes from America. The tenth and largest displays the Ioway meeting with French King Louis Philippe and the royal family in Paris. The piece is headed, Les Indiens Ioways des Montages Rocheuses. $4,500.


By the early 1850s, after the U. S. government rejected his offer to sell it his Indian paintings, Catlin found himself broke. However, he received a commission from Colt firearms to paint some scenes featuring their products. Catlin produced 12 paintings, which Colt used in their advertising. Six of those paintings were made into lithographs, and they are extremely rare, only four others sets, all in institutions, known today. Three are scenes from North America, and closely resemble paintings from Catlin's Indian portfolio, while three depict scenes from South America. Item 32. $160,000.


The William Reese Company may be reached at 203-789-8081 or amorder@reeseco.com. Their website is www.williamreesecompany.com

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