Gradhiva n°3


From the Far West to the Louvre: George Catlin's Indian Museum

Spring 2006

Special issues edited and presented by Daniel Fabre and Claude Macherel

This issue is entirely devoted to George Catlin's presentation of his 'Indian Museum' in Paris in the year 1845 - a portrait gallery created by the painter, along with a collection of artefacts and appearances by Indians themselves, some of whom accompanied him on his journey there. The publication of Gradhiva's third issue in June 2006 coincided with the inauguration of the Musée du quai Branly - a happy coincidence, as Catlin's 1845 Indian Gallery was effectively the first real anthropological museum to open its doors to the Parisian public — first of all, at the Musée du Louvre, then in the Salle Valentino in Paris.

This issue provides an opportunity to rediscover a museographic and ethnographic enterprise of considerable scope, recently brought back into the limelight in the United States, but underestimated and almost forgotten in France. In the 19th century it had a far-reaching impact. From Baudelaire to George Sand, by way of Delacroix, Gautier and Nerval, the productive Romantic generation did not fail to take notice of Catlin's Indians. The ways in which Indians were represented in his Museum also left their mark upon popular culture - newspapers and Epinal Images. George Catlin's 'Indian Museum' has more than one claim to a place in the history of museums and their creation on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Special issue:  From the Far West to the Louvre: George Catlin's Indian Museum

  • Daniel Fabre, Catlin seen by Europe: presentation
  • Claude Macherel, Genesis of an American ark for the Indians
  • Patricia Falguières, Catlin, painting and the museum industry
  • Daniel Fabre, The Catlin effect. Paris, 1845-1846
  • Gaëtano Ciarcia, Impressions of Europe, the Catlin gallery Indians from the Far West to the Far East
  • Frédéric Maguet, Paper Indians, between royal reception and popular reception


  • When did Delacroix sketch the Ojibwas ? Interview between Arlette Sérullaz and Claude Macherel

Documents and materials

  • George Catlin, Museum of Mankind (translated to French by Patricia Falguières)
  • Maungwudaus, Report by Indians chippers who traveled among white people (translated to French by Claudie Voisenat)
  • George Catlin, Journal, Extracts (translated to French by Claudie Voisenat)


  • 144 pages (20 x 27 cm)
  • 78 illustrations - 16 pages in color
  • ISBN : 2-915133-26-3
  • 18 €