Monday, August 7, 2017

Charles Deas (American painter, 1818-1867) paints a Group of Sioux

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries. Paintings of Native Americans in the 19C, often reinforced notions of American Indians as savage & white settlers as cultivated & divinely ordained - a notion that helped justify white colonization of the West. 
Charles Deas (American painter, 1818-1867) A Group of Sioux

The Sioux are groups of Native American tribes & First Nations peoples in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or to any of the nation's many language dialects. The Sioux are a nation of Native Americans including the Dakota, Lakota (or the Teton Sioux), & Yankton Sioux. The Sioux were once the dominant people of the Great Plains; & they were a strong confederacy of tribes that had fierce warriors but a peaceful society. Unfortunately, wars with the United States in the 1860s into the 1880s led to the Sioux being confined to reservations.

Charles Deas (1818-1867) was an American painter noted for his oil paintings of Native Americans & fur trappers. Although he was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his family was originally from South Carolina, where his maternal grandfather was American politician Ralph Izard. Deas studied under John Sanderson in Philadelphia, & the National Academy of Design in New York electd him as an associate member in 1839. By 1840, he decided to emulate Baltimore artist George Catlin, journeying west to the Wisconsin Territory. By 1841, Deas established a home base in St. Louis, Missouri. From there, Deas would spend time living among the Indian tribes, observing their manners & customs. Between 1841 & 1848, Deas' regularly exhibited his works in St. Louis at the "Mechanics Fairs." He also shipped many of his paintings, for sale, to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts & New York's American Art Union. Deas returned to New York in early 1848, hoping to open a gallery of Indian art, but soon he was declared legally insane. On May 23, 1848, Deas was committed to New York's Bloomingdale Asylum for the insane, where he lived for the rest of his life.