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Beautiful Grassy Bluffs, 110 Miles above St. Louis

1832 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 11 1/8 x 14 3/8 in. (28.4 x 36.6 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.373 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 2B


Luce Center Label

“We landed our canoe at the base of a beautiful series of grass-covered bluffs, which, like thousands and thousands of others on the banks of this river, are designated by no name, that I know of; and I therefore introduce them as fair specimens of the grassy bluffs of the Missouri . . . I took my easel, and canvas and brushes, to the top of the bluff, and painted the two views from the same spot; the one looking up, and the other down the river. The reader, by imagining these hills to be five or six hundred feet high, and every foot of them, as far as they can be discovered in distance, covered with a vivid green turf, whilst the sun is gilding one side, and throwing a cool shadow on the other, will be enabled to form something like an adequate idea of the shores of the Missouri. From this enchanting spot there was nothing to arrest the eye from ranging over its waters for the distance of twenty or thirty miles, where it quietly glides between its barriers, formed of thousands of green and gracefully sloping hills, with its rich and alluvial meadows, and woodlands---and its hundred islands, covered with stately cotton-wood.” George Catlin painted this image in 1832 while on a lengthy voyage northwest on the Missouri River. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 32, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Landscape - plain

Landscape - river

Landscape - United States

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added