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George Catlin (1796-1872), an American painter from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, is noted for his portraits of Native American tribes. Catlin produced 470 portraits and portrayals of Native Americans and the unexplored West, for which he is most commonly known. In addition to his these works works, Catlin also portrayed figures involved in the exploration of these territories, such as William Clark, General Winfield Scott, and this portrait of James Monroe. Under Jefferson’s presidency, Monroe played an instrumental role in the negotiation of the Louisiana Purchase. Becoming president himself, Monroe is known for his continued efforts to explore this territory. Catlin’s portrait of Monroe, though one of the few deviances from his typical portrayal of Native American life, is representative of the desire to explore all aspects of the West, despite the infringement and disruption to its inhabitants.
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