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O-rón-gás-see, Bear-catcher, a Celebrated Warrior

1832 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 29 x 24 in. (73.7 x 60.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.26 Not currently on view

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George Catlin probably painted this image of Bear-catcher, a warrior of the Kansas/Kaw tribe, at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) in 1832. Catlin later described the warrior as having “hair . . . cut as close to the head as possible, except a tuft the size of the palm of the hand, on the crown of the head, which is left of two inches in length: and in the centre of which is fastened a beautiful crest made of the hair of the deer's tail (dyed red) and horsehair, and oftentimes surmounted with the war-eagle's quill.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 34, 1841; reprint 1973)


Ethnic - Indian - Kansas

Portrait male - Bear Catcher


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added