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Indians in Council, California

ca. 1872 Albert Bierstadt Born: Solingen, Germany 1830 Died: New York, New York 1902 oil on canvas 15 7/8 x 21 7/8 in. (40.4 x 55.5 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Marvin J. and Shirley F. Sonosky in memory of Harryette Cohn 1998.148 Not currently on view


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Albert Bierstadt spent two years in California in the early 1870s, sketching the landscape of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. He was fascinated by the Native Americans he encountered on his journeys and made many sketches of their dwellings, dress, and weapons, including this painting of a group of Indian leaders. He felt that the Native American way of life was “rapidly passing away,” and that it was his duty “to tell his portion of their history.” (Letter from the artist, July 10, 1859, The Crayon, quoted in Anderson and Ferber, Albert Bierstadt: Art and Enterprise, 1990)

Keywords

Architecture Exterior - domestic - teepee

Ceremony - Indian - council

Ethnic - Indian

Figure group

Landscape - California

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Albert Bierstadt

Born: Solingen, Germany 1830 Died: New York, New York 1902

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