who spent more time among the Indians of the trans-Mississippi West than probably any other artist of his day, was one of the few to record the ordinary activities of nineteenth century Indian life. Born in New Brunswick, Maine in 1808, he was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1824 where he trained as a topographical draftsman. He was assigned to duty on the western frontier and, possibly influenced by the visits of artists such as George Catlin, produced some of his Indian studies in 1829.
In 1833, he was appointed assistant drawing instructor to Robert Weir at West Point. Five years later he exhibited at the National Academy of Design. Assigned to the frontier outpost at Fort Snelling in 1841, Eastman made many studies of frontier and Indian scenes. In 1849, he collaborated with his wife on several books about Indians. His wife, an accomplished writer, is said to have inspired Henry W. Longfellow‚Äôs "Hiawatha." Seth Eastman was the principal illustrator for Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's definitive study of the American Indian and, after serving in Texas during the Civil War, was commissioned by Congress to execute a number of scenes of Indian and frontier life for the Senate and House Chamber at the Capitol.
In addition to his work at the Capitol, Eastman's paintings hang in the Smithsonian Institution, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Gilcrease Museum, the Stark Museum and the Joslyn Museum of Art.