Arts & Culture

Explore the American West at Art Museum

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 8, 2009) - "Exploring the American West: Karl Bodmer and George Catlin," a spectacular collection of 48 hand-tinted etchings and lithographs, provides a historical record of the Native American way of life during the westward expansion of the United States. It will open at the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky Oct. 11 and run through Dec. 20. An accompanying display of Native American artifacts from UK's William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology will feature objects from the Plains tribes.

During the 1830s, renowned artists Karl Bodmer and George Catlin made separate journeys up the Missouri River to record the landscape, wildlife, and the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains. Both artists captured these civilizations at their peak, before the intrusion of settlers and disease.

Catlin produced hundreds of portraits representing almost 40 different tribes.

Bodmer traveled with an expedition led by naturalist Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied. His images were published in "Travels in the Interior of North America, 1832-34," as an account of the group’s extended contact with a number of tribes indigenous to the Great Plains.

Among the lectures, workshops and events scheduled in conjunction with the "Exploring the American West" exhibition is a Free Family Day to be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18. Families in attendance at this event can check out art activities, campfire cooking and Native American dances.

The collection on display in the "Exploring the American West" exhibition is part of the Wells Fargo Advisors LLC’s corporate art collection. In 1991, the firm created the traveling exhibit program, encouraging branch offices to partner with local art institutions to bring selections of the corporate collection to their communities. Since the program’s inception, the firm’s branches have collaborated with more than 90 institutions across the country to sponsor various exhibitions.

The Art Museum at UK exhibition is sponsored by the Bluegrass Complex of Wells Fargo Advisors LLC, Member SIPC. Branch manager William Mullins states, “We are very pleased to be able to bring in this collection of classic American works of art to share with our community. These pieces offer us a record of the travels of early American explorers who encountered entirely new cultures on their travels to the West. We hope patrons of this exhibit will enjoy the visual journey.”

The exhibition's accompanying artifacts collection from the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology includes beaded clothing, feathered war bonnets, hair ornaments, ceremonial weapons, and pipes that will provide visitors with a glimpse into the daily lives of early 1800s Native American tribes.

"Exploring the American West" will be open to the public noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and noon to 8 p.m. Friday. Admission price is $8 for the general public, $5 for senior citizens, and free for UK faculty/staff/students. Admission is free to all from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday nights. The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky is located at Rose Street and Euclid Avenue.