Photographs of statues, busts, and reliefs in the Vatican's Museo Missionario Etnologico. Included are portraits of Creek, Dakota, Fox, Sauk, Shawnee, and Winnebago Indians, as well as scenes of scalping, hunting, and a council between Indians and United States government officials.
Ferdinand Pettrich (1798-1872) was born in Dresden, Germany, and first learned sculpting practices from his father, a court sculptor for the King of Saxony. After moving to Rome at age 21, he studied under the Danish sculptor and teacher Albert B. Thorvaldsen. Following this education, Pettrich traveled to America with his wife in 1835, and opened a studio in Washington, D.C. There, he sculpted busts for politicians and visiting American Indian delegates and may have made sketches depicting facets of the life and history of various tribes. Some of those sketches were later used to compose his statues. In 1942, Pettrich was stabbed, and moved to recuperate in Brazil, where he worked as court sculptor for Emperor Dom Pedro II. He later returned to Rome, where he presented his sculptures of American Indian subjects to the Museum of St. John Lateran in the Vatican.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 20
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Lithographs of Pettrich sketches are held in National Anthropological Archives MS 4886.
Additional artifacts donated by the Department of Anthropology, Catholic University of America in USNM ACC 211312 held in the Department of Anthropology collections and in National Anthropological Archives Photo lot 32.
Copies of correspondence from Pettrich held in the Archives of American Art in the Joel Roberts Poinsett letters from artists and Ferdinand F. A. Pettrich letters to Henry Wise.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Photo lot 20, Lantern slides of Ferdinand Pettrich sculptures related to American Indians, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution