Paul Kane

Paul Kane: Selfhaven-guessed/advised, around 1845

Paul Kane (* 3. September 1810 in Mallow, county Cork, Ireland; † 20. February 1871 in Toronto, Canada) was an influential Canadian painter of Irish origin. Kane for its paintings, which represent the life of the North American Indians , became famous. Until today its paintings and in particular its designs are an important source for Ethnologen. Kane is considered as one the first Canadian artist, who could live on its art.

The Kane grown up in Toronto acquired its pictorial knowledge particularly during a study trip to Europe, with which it copied paintings of European masters. Two journeys led it into at that time still to a large extent unexplored area of the Canadian west. First it undertook 1845 and led it from Toronto to Sault Ste. Marie and back. The second journey, which it undertook with support of the Hudson Bay company, lasted from 1846 to 1848. It led it from Toronto across the Rocky Mountains after away Vancouver and away Victoria into the Oregon territory and again back after Toronto. On both journeys and painted Kane drew North American Indians and documented this way their life-style. The 120 Ölgemälde, which it painted following its journeys from its designs and sketches, rank today among the Canadian cultural heritage.

1859 published Kane a book concerning the Indians with the title migrations of an artist among the Indians of North America (wall ring OF at kindist among the Indians OF North America), which it illustrated with its paintings. This work was a large success and also in German, French and Netherlands translation was published.

Table of contents


the early years

haven-guesses/advises Mrs. Eliza Clarke Cory Clench, around 1834-1836, Paul Kane attributed
haven-guesses/advises George Gurnett, around 1845

Kane in Mallow, to a city in that the Irish county Cork, as the fifth of the eight children of Michael Kane and Frances Loach was born. Its father was a member of the British military, who originated from the English Preston , Lancashire. After the end of its service in the Royal Horse Artillery it established itself in Ireland. Between 1819 and 1822 (the exact time is unknown) the family emigrierte to Canada and established themselves in Toronto, which carried still the name York at that time. There the father opened a shop for wine and liquor.

Over Paul Kanes youth in York, which counted only few thousand inhabitants at that time, little is well-known. It visited the Upper Canada college starting from 1830, where it received indication and mark instruction by the art teacher Thomas Drury. In July 1835 Kane issued some its paintings in the first and only exhibition of the Society OF Artists and of amateur in Toronto . In that local newspaper its paintings were discussed in a well-meaning manner.

Kane began its artistic career as describing and a furniture painter in Toronto. 1834 it moved after Cobourg (Ontario) and worked there in the furniture factory Freeman Schermerhorn Clench. In this time also some haven advice of local sizes like the local Sheriff and the woman of its employer, Mrs developed. Eliza Clarke Cory Clench.

Already in in Toronto Kane had become acquainted with the US-American painter James Bowman, and 1836 he established himself in its residence Detroit (Michigan) . Together with Bowman Kane planned a journey to Europe. When Bowman married and alone did not want to leave its wife, the plan of a common journey was dropped, and for a journey on own fist Kane the money was missing. During the next five years Kane the American middle one the west bereiste. He earned its living costs as a haven guessing painter.

In June 1841 Kane had sufficient financial means, in order to undertake the long planned European journey. After the passage from new Orleans to Marseille it bereiste two years long Europe and studied in museums the technology of the European painters. Without the attendance of an academy of arts he did. Also for this financial reasons were decisive.

Up to the autumn 1842 it was in Italy, before it moved over the San Bernardino passport to Paris and further-traveled from there out to London. In London he became acquainted with George Catlin , an American painter, who had lived for a while among North American prairie Indians and had held their lives in his paintings and designs. Catlin was in London, over for its book Letters and Notes on the Männers to recruit Customs and conditions OF the North American Indians and held lectures in the Egyptian resounds at the Piccadilly, where he had also issued some its paintings. In its book Catlin knows among other things on the fact that the culture of the North American Indians in the fall is understood and that efforts should be undertaken to document their way of life for future generations. For Kanes further life way this meeting was crucial: as Catlin wanted it the life and the culture of the Canadian Indian trunks to document.

Kane returned at the beginning of of 1843 to North America and established themselves in mobile (Alabama) . It opened a Studio and worked again as a haven guessing painter, until it had made sufficiently money, in order to pay its debts back taken up for the journey to Europe. At the end of of 1844 or at the beginning of of 1845 he returned to Toronto and began immediately to prepare a journey into the west of Canada.

the first journey to the northwest of Canada

Ojibway Camp on the bank of the Huronsees (a typical travelog Kanes)

to 18. June 1845 applied Kane to its journey into the northwest of Canada. Its way led it along the northern coast of the large seas, and it visited the reservation of the Saugeen. After he had spent several weeks with the preparation of sketches there, he traveled in the summer 1845 after Sault Ste. Marie further. Its plan planned to travel from there out after the west further but John clenching, an experienced representative of the Hudson Bay company, warned him of the risks and dangers, he was exposed to which as an however traveler in the west of Canada. According to ball ending opinion such a journey was possible only with support of the Hudson Bay company, since the trading firm in to a large extent unexplored area had numerous outguards. In this outguards Indians and Trapper exchanged the captured furs against money and goods.

Kane returned to Toronto, before the Canadian winter began. It used the next months, around some its sketches to Ölgemälden processes. In the spring 1846 it turned to the head office of the Hudson Bay company, in order to ask the chairman George Simpson for support for its travel plans. Simpson was done of the artistic abilities Kanes, doubted however that Kane had sufficient staying power for a common journey with the fur dealers of the trading firm. It finally permitted Kane to work satisfactorily with a Kanureise up to the Lake Winnipeg before on a far journey one decided. Nevertheless assign Simpson Kane some paintings over the life of the Canadian Indians.

to the west

Métis Indian on buffalo hunt
Jaspers house, sketch from the year 1846

to 9. May 1846 left Kane Toronto with a steam ship, in order to follow a group of Trappern, those with the Kanu from Lachine to Sault Ste. Marie to travel wanted. The journey there was coined/shaped by some misfortunes: after a stop over night Kane missed the departure of its steam ship, which put down announced by the anchorage in former times as. With a Kanu it drove to the steam ship afterwards and so actually still caught up it. Also in Lachine the Trapper had not waited for the arrival of the steam ship, but the place already leave. On board a Frachtschoners it traveled behind them and created it, it to 24. March 35 miles forwards away William at the Kaministiquia - to catch up river.

To 4. June reached Kane away Frances, where Simpsons permission for the far journey was deposited towards the west already. Its next stop was talks River Settlement, an address near the today's Winnipeg. From there out it undertook a three-day-long expedition, in order a large group of Métis - to accompany Indians, which to the buffalo hunt toward the Sioux - areas close Dakota traveled. To 26. June 1846 participated Kane in such a way in one of the last large indianischen buffalo hunts. Few decades later the population of these animals was already in such a way dezimiert that they were becoming extinct close. After its return it traveled with Kanus and sail messengers of far after Norway House, Grand Rapids and from there the Saskatchewan - river up toward away Carl clay/tone. From away Carl clay/tone out it traveled to horse after away Edmonton and was on the way a witness of a large buffalo hunt of the Cree - Indians.

To 6. October 1846 left Kane Edmonton behind itself, in order to travel toward away Assiniboine further. There it followed a group of Trappern , who with Kanus the Athabasca - river to the commercial establishment Jasper's House traveled. At the 3. November 1846 it arrived there. With a group of riders it wanted to travel further after the west. The group was however soon forced it to send the horses back after Jasper's House because the Athabasca was already too snow-covered passport, in order on horsebacks to cross. With snow shoes they crossed the passport and closed to 12. November of a Kanubrigade on, which traveled with them the Columbia River down there.

in the Oregon territory

interior opinion of a Zeremonialhütte, sketch

the winter spent Kane in away Vancouver, the headquarters of the Hudson Bay company in the Oregon territory, which it to 8. December had reached. There it made sketches and tried in several excursion ions the Chinookan - Indians and other trunks of the environment more near to become acquainted with. The longest led it for three weeks by the Willamette Valley. Otherwise it participated in the social life in away Vancouver, in whose port at this time the British ship Modeste lay, and makes friends themselves with the Trapper and explorer Peter Skene Ogden .

To 25. May 1847 applied Kane with the Kanu after away Victoria . Away Victoria was to be based briefly before and should the new headquarters of the Hudson Bay company become, since the Oregon Treaty of 1846 planned the locking of the post away Vancouver. Kane traveled the Cowlitz River up and remained for one week under the trunks, those in close proximity to Mount pc. Helens lived, before it to horses after Nisqually, which today's Tacoma further-traveled. From Tacoma it returned with the Kanu to away Victoria.

In the environment from away Victoria remained it further two months, in order to bereisen together with Indian trunks Vancouver Iceland, the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Strait OF Georgia. In the middle of June it returned to away Vancouver and began its return journey into the east of Canada at the 1. July 1847.

the second crossing of the Rocky Mountains

winter landscape in the Rocky Mountains, 1847
Kanus, sketch

in the middle of July arrived Kane in away the Walla Walla , of where it made out a detour, in order to visit the Whitman mission, in which few months later the Whitman massacre to take place should. Together with Marcus Whitman it visited the Cayuse, which lived in this region. He drew even haven-guessed/advised of ton-mA-kus, which with responsible one made for the murder of the Whitmans later. After Kanes recordings the relationship between the Cayuse and the settlers was already strained in the mission.

Together with a leader it traveled to horses by the Grande Coulée to away the Colville. There it remained six weeks, in order by the Indians, who had broken a camp open for the salmon catch at the Kettle of case to make further sketches. To 22. September 1847 took over Kane the command over a Kanubrigade and traveled with this the Columbia up; to 10. October arrived it at the Boat Encampment . There they had to wait three weeks, until a late group of Trappern of the Hudson Bay company from Jasper arrived with its horses. Kanes Trappergruppe took over the horses, while the group from Jaspers further-traveled with the Kanus the Columbia down there. To horses Kanes group the Athabasca passport crossed and reached despite strong snow and large cold weather without losses Jasper's House. The Kanubrigade, with which they should have further-traveled, had Jasper's however already left. Kanes group was forced to travel with snow shoes and a dog sled further after away Assiniboine. The Trapper underestimated however the difficulties of this venture, and as them in away Asssiniboine arrived two weeks later, their food had long gone out. Only after some days recovery break were they able to travel after away Edmonton further where they spent the winter.

Kane used the winter stay in away Edmonton, in order to study the life habits of the Cree more intensively. In January it undertook a Exkursion to away the Pitt, which continued to be to about 200 miles south because of the Saskatchewan.

the return to the east

away Edmonton, Ölgemälde, 1849-1856
Indians with nocturnal Speerfi, Ölgemälde
chieftain Wah Pus
Indian camp forwards away Colville, Ölgemälde

to 25. May 1848 left Kane away Edmonton, in order to travel with one group of 130 persons and 23 Kanus under the direction of John Edward Harriott toward the east. At the 1. They met June a large group of 1.500 Blackfoot Indians, who were on the war path against the Cree and Assiniboine. On this occasion Kane learned also the Blackfoot Stammesführer bends Snake, which he held later in a Ölgemälde. The Kanubrigarde was as briefly as possible in the proximity of the Indians, in order into the arguments to be entangled. To 18. They reached June Norway House. Kane remained here one month, in order to wait for the annual meeting of the main dealers of the Hudson Bay company and to find among them also a group, with which it could travel further eastward. It followed in the long run a group under guidance of major McKenzie, with whom it to 24. July applied. The group traveled along the east coast from Lake Winnipeg after away Alexander. From there out Kane the same route followed, on which he had traveled two years before toward the west. Sault Ste. It reached Marie at the 1. October 1848. From there out it continued to travel with the steam ship after Toronto, which it to 13. October reached.

life in Toronto

Kane established itself now permanently in Toronto. It traveled only only once toward the west, when it 1849 a British group of expeditions anheuerte as leader and a translator. The group traveled however only up to talks River Settlement.

Already in November 1848 Kane had shown in an exhibition with large success 240 of its sketches. On a second exhibition in September 1852 it showed eight Ölgemälde, which were likewise praised by the criticism. George William Allan became thereupon its most important promoter and assigned him the execution of 100 Ölgemälden, for which Kane received altogether 20,000 Canadian dollar. This sum permitted it to live from its painting to. Kane convinced 1851 in addition the Canadian parliament to order with it twelve Ölgemälden. For the order, which he fulfilled toward end years 1856, it received a sum of 500 British Pound.

1853 married Kane Harriet Clench, the daughter of its former employer in Cobourg. It is delivered that it was literary active a talented painter and in addition. They had altogether two daughters and two sons.

In the year 1857 Kane had fulfilled all its orders for Ölgemälde. Between its return 1848 and 1857 had developed thereby more than 120 Ölgemälde. Some its work were 1855 with that to Paris world exhibition (exposition universal one) to be seen, where they were taken up also very positively. Several paintings were sent even to London, in order in the Buckingham Palace queen Victoria to be introduced.

Its Kane - similarly as George Catlin before - had noted travel impressions and to a Londoner publishing house had sent. Since it did not receive an answer, it traveled to London and provided with the support of the influential George Simpson for the publication of its book. 1859 appeared it under the title of wall ring OF at kindist among the Indians OF North America from Canada ton of Vancouver's Iceland and Oregon through the Hudson's Bay Company's Territory and bake Again, provided with numerous lithographies after its sketches and paintings. Kane dedicated the book to its early promoter George William Allan, which insulted Simpson in such a way that he broke his relationship off with Kane. The book was an immediate success and appeared until 1863 also in French, Danish and German translation.

Into the 1860er years worsened Kanes vision so rapidly that he had to completely give a painting up soon. Among the friends in its last Lebensjahren Frederick Arthur Verner ranked, on whose artistic development Kane exerted substantial influence. Like Kane Verner became an artist of the American west. Verner painted among other things three of haven advice aging Paul Kane - one of it hangs today in the Royal Ontario museum.

Kane died unexpectedly one winter morning in February 1871, after he had home returned from his morning walk. It lies on the pc. James Cemetery in Toronto bury.

Kanes function

two sketches of

Paul Cane

Flachkopf-Indianerin mit Kleinkind, Skizze Cowlitz-Indianerin (Caw Wacham), Skizze
flat head Indianerin with infant, Ölgemälde
Indian camp at the Lake Huron,
Ölgemälde to Kanes work more than

700 sketches, which it made on its two journeys into the American west, count the work [work on]. Following these journeys developed more than 120 Ölgemälde, which are based on these sketches and which it implemented in its studio in Toronto. Over the number of its haven guessing paintings, which before its European journey in Canada and the USA developed as well as the copies, which it made from European paintings, is nothing well-known - which are considered to most as verschollen. At least early haven advice before the European journey are considered as simple in their execution. The art historian J. Russell Harper certifies them however a certain charm in representation method and color choice.

Kanes artistic fame is based alone on its representation of the life of North American Indians. Its sketches are to a today's important source for the Ethnologie, because they represent detail-faithfully the way of life of different Indian trunks. The sketches are implemented in pencil, as water color or in Ölfarbe on paper and prove both its large graphic talent and its ability, situations graphically to seize.

Beside its sketches Kane returned of its journeys also a set of artifacts . In addition count Indian masks, whistles and other work art-relating to crafts. Together with its sketches they formed the basis for its Ölgemälde implemented in the studio. These are on the one hand coined/shaped of a large detail loyalty, on the other hand one Kane combined however frequently individual sketches in such a way that they do not correspond to the actual geographical, historical or ethnographischen conditions. One of the most well-known examples of this function is Kanes Ölgemälde Flachkopfindianerin with child, during whose execution he on a sketch of a Chinookan - infant falls back, who the forehead is flattened. For the illustration of the nut/mother it fell back to a sketch of a Cowlitz developed later - Indianerin. The Cowlitz Indians belong also to the so-called flat head Indians, live however in another region than the Chinookan. Another example is the shown picture Indian camp at the Huronsee, which is based on a sketch, the Kane in the summer 1845 on its first journey after Sault Ste. Marie drew. By the execution of the clouds and the light arrangement, which remind in vielem of the Netherlands landscape painting, it lends a romantic flair to the painting. The represented life in the camp of the Indians against it reminds of the idealized representation of rural life, like it in late 18. and early 19. Century likes was. Same applies for far shown above Ölgemälde Indian camps to that forwards away Coleville.

Kane converted its sketches occasionally to completely fictitious paintings. Its Ölgemälde outbreak of the Mount pc. Helens shows a large and dramatic outbreak of the volcano. Its diaries and its sketches occupy however that the volcano discharged only smoke, when Kane was in this region; the last larger outbreak had taken place three years before. In other paintings Kane sketches of river landscapes, which developed at different places, combined and created thereby landscapes, which did not have a counterpart in the reality. Also its painting the death of the chieftain Snake is purely fictitious. The shown master leader of the black foot Indians Omoxesisixany (English name: Snake) died 1858, two years after completion of the painting. The artistic liberty of the painter Kane limits the use of these paintings as ethnologische picture documents.

Assiniboine on buffalo hunt, 1851-1856

Kanes promoters were not will to acquire unchanged remarks of its field sketches in oil. Already for this reason oriented yourself Kane, which denied its living costs with the sales of its pictures, clearly at the picture language, which he had become acquainted with during his European journey. This is well comprehensible „Europeanized “representation in its painting Assiniboine on buffalo hunt to recognize, to the 12 paintings belonged, which George William Allan for the Canadian parliament acquired. The painting shows horses, which remind more of Arabs than of indianische horse races. In addition the screen layout corresponds to the one Italian diagram of 1816, which shows two Romans with the bull hunt. This discrepancy was already criticized 1877 by Canadian art critics, who accused Kane that the represented landscape works European. Also Lawrence Burpee knows in its introduction to the new edition of Kanes travel recordings 1925 on the fact that the sketches are the more faithful representation of the American west and are them a larger value to therefore attach. In both judgements surely also the desire is reflected again to see in Kane one genuin Canadian artist. Art historian outgoing 20. Century confess Kane a larger artistic liberty too and evaluate the designs mainly in documentary regard more highly than the paintings.

Kane is considered today as one of the most important Canadian painters. 1955 became eleven of the paintings, which created Kane for the Canadian parliament, to which national Gallery hand over OF Canada. After death George William allto was bought up its extensive collection 1903 by Edmund Boyd Osler and donated to the Royal Ontario museum in Toronto. a descendant Kanes sold 229 of the sketches 1957 for somewhat more than 100,000 US Dollar to strongly the museum OF kind in orange (Texas).

The Surveyor: Portrait OF Captain John Henry Lefroy, occasionally also Scene into the Northwest called
Encampment, Winnipeg River, sketch for the 2004 not for auction Ölgemälde camp
in the prairie, sketch currentfast
at the French River, sketch Kanes

painting, come, obtain today high prices. To 25. February 2002 auctioneered the auction house Sotheby's in Toronto the painting The Surveyor: Portrait OF Captain John Henry Lefroy (around 1845). The Canadian billionaire Kenneth Thomson received the addition with a price from 5.062.500 Canadian dollar. Thompson donated the painting afterwards to the kind Gallery OF Ontario ( the Glenbow museum in Calgary a copy of this painting, those possesses Kanes wife Harriet Clench is attributed).

Not all sales of Kane paintings however so successfully run. To 22. November 2004 remained the painting Encampment, Winnipeg River unversteigert, when no Bieter was ready to pay more to than 1.7 million Canadian dollar for this picture. Had expected one in the apron a selling price from 2 to 2.5 million Canadian dollar.

Kanes travel descriptions

Kanes description of its two expeditions into the west of the North American continent was after their appearance in London immediately a large success. Also in 20. Century experienced its travel description several editions.

The Kunsthistorikerin Heather Dawkins criticized Kane 1986 on the basis its published travel descriptions and because of the European kind of its paintings as racistic and imperialistic. This opinion could not become generally accepted however in the art-historical discussion. Thus I. defended. S. MacLaren the painter with the reference that Kanes travel diary, which publishes the basis for travel narration was shows an impartial view of the life of the North American Indians. Between that 1859 published text and the diary exist also stylistic a large difference. MacLaren therefore holds it for probable that the book before its appearance was drawn up strongly by strange hand, in order to make it a typical viktorianischen travel narration. MacLaren considers the reproach of the racingism therefore doubtful.


Kanes journeys inspired a number of other artists to similar enterprises. A direct artistic influence is particularly in the case of Frederick Arthur Verner provable, whose Mentor Kane was in its late Lebensjahren. Also the early work of Lucius O'Brien is considered as of Kane affected. Kanes exhibition in the year 1848, with which he showed among other things 155 water colors and 85 oil sketches, established these art techniques in the Canadian public. It prepared thereby the way for its compatriots William Cresswell or Daniel Fowler, which specialized both in the water color technology and were able, to live on the sales of its water colors.

Both the exhibition of its sketches 1848 and the 1852 the following exhibition of some Ölgemälden were a large success and by the press were positively discussed. Kane became thereby one of the most well-known painters of Canada. On other exhibitions its paintings achieved a set of prices. It dominated the art scene during the entire 1850er years in Canada so strongly that the jury of the Upper Canada Agricultural Society almost apologized, when they did not endow it 1852 on the annual exhibition with a price. Kane won the price however in the following years.

In addition Kane can as one first, if not the first tourist apply, who traveled without commercial cause to the Canadian west and to the northwest Pacific region. Owing to its sketches and paintings as well as its travel narrations the Canadian public received an extensive visual impression from this before little for the first time admitted region and its inhabitants. Its idealized Ölgemälde contributed however also to the fact that the indigenen peoples of North America were noticed of the Canadian and British public increasingly as „a noble savage “. The truth-more faithful field sketches became only in the course 20. Century „rediscovers “and in its artistic value of a larger public esteemed.


  • Paul Kane: Migrations of an artist among the Indians Nordamerika's of Canada after the Vancouver's island and after Oregon by the area of the Hudson Bay society and back. Matthes, Leipzig, 1862 (reproduction: Publishing house for America sneezing TIC, Wyk on Foehr 1992, ISBN 3-924696-69-1)
  • Canadian painting, 19. and 20. Century: Joseph Légaré, Paul Kane, Lucius O'Brien, Ozias Leduc, James Wilson Morrice, Tom Thomson, Emily Carr, LeMoine FitzGerald, Goodridge Robert, Paul Emile Borduas, Jack Bush. An exhibition of the institute for foreign relationses, Stuttgart, in co-operation with the Canada Council, the Canadian department OF eXternal Affairs, the Canadian message, Bonn and the academy of the arts, Berlin. Forum for culture exchange 9. February to 13. March 1983. Institut for foreign relationses, Stuttgart 1983
  • Bruce Haig: Paul Kane, artist. December-blessedly, Calgary (Alberta) 1984
  • DIANE Eaton, Sheila Urbanek: Paul Kane's Great Nor west. UBC press, Vancouver 1995, ISBN 0-7748-0538-2
  • J.R. Harper (Hrsg.): Paul Kane's Frontier, University OF Texas press, Austin 1971, ISBN 0-292-70110-1
  • I.S. MacLaren: I came ton would guess/advise thare portraits: Paul Kane's journal OF his Western Travels, 1846-1848, American kind journal 21 (2), 1989

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