"Some 60 years before the two artists most commonly referred to as the fathers of the Western Art movement, Frederic Remington and Charlie Russell; before Edward Curtis documented in photographs many of the tribes at the turn of the 20th century, George Catlin and Prince Maximilian with his hired artist assistant, Karl Bodmer, set out to document in pictures in this pre photography era, the American Indian tribes of the 1830s that Lewis and Clark had encountered some 30 years prior.
Although portraits of the American Indian go back earlier than this period, these two Explorer Artists were the first through comprehensive field notes and paintings to document these people in the environment in which they lived, giving us a true point of reference of not only what these people actually looked like, but a sense of who they were and how they lived.
Ironically, Maximilian and Karl Bodmer never crossed paths with George Catlin, but both were driven by a sense of urgency to document these vanishing people, Some may have been lost to history if not for these Explorer Artists.
Six years in the making, the Explorer Artists Series was not created to add or take away from the visual documents, but to faithfully pay tribute to Bodmer and Catlin and those who posed, thus sculpturally bringing another dimension to their work by fleshing out these early portraits.
It is my belief that these two artists have been somewhat under-appreciated in the past and only in recent years has their incredible contribution to Western Art finally begun to be fully recognized." - John Coleman, artist statement