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Begging Dance, Sauk and Fox

1835-1837 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 19 5/8 x 27 1/2 in. (49.7 x 70.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.439 Not currently on view

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“The Begging Dance is a frequent amusement, and one that has been practiced with some considerable success at this time, whilst there have been so many distinguished and liberal visitors here. It is got up by a number of desperate and long-winded fellows, who will dance and yell their visitors into liberality; or, if necessary, laugh them into it, by their strange antics, singing a song of importunity, and extending their hands for presents, which they allege are to gladden the hearts of the poor, and ensure a blessing to the giver.” George Catlin initially sketched this scene at a Sac and Fox village in 1835. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 56, 1841; reprint 1973)


Ceremony - dance - Begging Dance

Ceremony - Indian

Ethnic - Indian - Sauk and Fox

Ethnic - Indian - Sauk and Fox

Figure group - male


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added