In the 1840's, Paul Kane travelled the far reaches of the North American West, from the Great Lakes along the fur-trade routes to the coast, sketching a visual record of the Indian cultures of that vast area. With the publication of this study of his life and career, Kane emerges as a major figure among North American artists of the 19th century. Hundreds of his sketches are examined together for the first time. The range of his subjects offers important visual documentation for the story of the North American West.
The 48 color plates and 204 black-and-white illustrations included in this volume reveal Paul Kane's frontier as a region of endless fascination. Katne's immediate inspiration seems to have been the work of George Catlin, who had become a celebrity in England in the 1840s when Kane met him. Like Catlin, he felt compelled to preserve for posterity a record of the Indian chieftains, the customs of the tribes and the lands where they lived before change had made such a record impossible.
Kane assembled this gallery on arduous journeys in 1845 and 1846-1848. By canoe and packhorse or on foot he travelled across the continent from the Great Lakes westward along the fur-trade routes across the prairies and the Rocky Mountains, down the Columbia River into the Oregon, and up the coast to Vancouver Island. Everywhere along the way he made sketches, in pencil, watercolor, or oil.