Catlin’s Images of Buffalo

Buffalo from the Lighthouse, 1825

 George Catlin (1796-1872) is best known for his nineteenth-century portraits of Native Americans, but his early work includes engravings of natural sites along the Erie Canal in New York State.  Cadwallader Colden’s 1825 book, Memoir, prepared at the request of a committee of the Common council of the city of New York : and presented to the mayor of the city, at the celebration of the completion of the New York canals, contains several early images of Buffalo reproduced by the process of lithography, a method for printing using stones or metal plates invented in 1796 by Bavarian author, Alois Senefelder.

Buffalo Harbor from the Village, 1825

The first lithograph to appear in the United States was in the July, 1819 issue of The Analectic Magazine, vol.XIV, no.2.  The print, known as “Mill on a stream,” was created by American Bass Otis (1784-1861) and accompanies a brief article on the lithographic process.  While simple, this image represents a milestone in American art technique and printing.
 

"Mill on a Stream" 1819

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Filed under Collections, Local History

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