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George Catlin, born Wilkes-Barre, PA 1796-died Jersey City, NJ 1872  Search this
Eagle's Ribs  Search this
Buffalo's Child  Search this
oil on canvas
29 x 24 in. (73.7 x 60.9 cm)
Luce Center Label:
“This man is one of the extraordinary men of the Blackfoot tribe; though not a chief, he stands here in the Fort, and deliberately boasts of eight scalps, which he says he has taken from the heads of trappers and traders with his own hand. His dress is really superb, almost literally covered with scalp-locks, of savage and civil. I have painted him at full length, with a head-dress made entirely of ermine skins and horns of the buffalo. This custom of wearing horns beautifully polished and surmounting the head-dress, is a very curious one, being worn only by the bravest of the brave; by the most extraordinary men in the nation . . . When he stood for his picture, he also held a lance and two ‘medicine-bags’ in his hand.” This portrait, painted at Fort Union, bears a certificate signed by the Indian agent John Sanford. George Catlin called upon fur traders, army officials, and government Indian agents to certify the accuracy of his pictures, an important testimonial for the artist who insisted that the value of his work lay in its authenticity. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 5, 1841; reprint 1973)
Dress\ethnic\Indian dress  Search this
Ethnic\Indian\Blackfoot  Search this
Portrait male  Search this
Ethnic\Indian\Piegan  Search this
Portrait male\full length  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Object number:
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Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Painting and Sculpture
On View:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, South Wing
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum