The colonization of the world by European powers led to the production of a wealth of images of the colonized cultures and peoples. Images of North American Indians play an important role in our visual culture. This publication illuminates how they are represented, as well as their political and historico-cultural background, based on the so-called 'Indian Museum' of the Dresden sculptor Ferdinand Pettrich (1798-1872). In the 1830s, Pettrich traveled to Washington and portrayed representatives of Indian tribes in 33 reliefs, statues, busts and bozzetti made of terracotta-colored plaster. These tribes were negotiating treaties with the US government about the future usage of the land. Pettrich's oeuvre is an early example of the recurring motif of North American Indians in European and Euro-American art. The classically-influenced forms of these representations, the influence of the simultaneously emerging 'Indian painting', as well as the lasting fascination of the subject of 'Indians' are presented here, along with the political context of the era the works were created in. Text in English and German.
Dr. Iris Edenheiser is the curator of the American section at the GRASSI Museum fur Volkerkunde zu Leipzig (Museum of Ethnography), Leipzig, Germany. Dr. Astrid Nielsen is the curator of the sculpture collection at the Dresden State Art Collections, Dresden, Germany.