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Band of Sioux Moving Camp

1837-1839 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 19 1/2 x 27 1/2 in. (49.4 x 69.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.482 Not currently on view


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George Catlin described this scene as “five or six hundred wigwams, with all their furniture . . . creeping over the grass-covered plains of this country; and three times that number of men, on good horses, strolling along in front or on the flank . . . and every cur [dog] . . . who is large enough, and not too cunning to be enslaved, is encumbered with a car or a sled . . . on which he patiently drags his load.” Catlin was less well-adjusted to traveling than these people embarked on their seasonal journey. He described his own trek over the southern Plains as “monotonous” and “exceedingly painful” and related that his party’s morale suffered from being out of sight of any landmark, adrift in “a discouraging sea of green.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 7, 1841, reprint 1973; Gurney and Heyman, eds., George Catlin and His Indian Gallery, 2002)

Keywords

Animal - dog

Animal - horse

Ethnic - Indian - Dakota

Ethnic - Indian - Sioux

Figure group

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added