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Mong-shóng-sha, Bending Willow, Wife of Great Chief

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. 1985.66.98 Not currently on view

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“I visited the wigwam of [Great Chief] . . . several times,” George Catlin wrote, “and saw his four modest little wives seated around the fire, where all seemed to harmonize very well; . . . I selected [Bending Willow] . . . for her portrait, and painted it . . . in a very pretty dress of deer skins, and covered with a young buffalo's robe, which was handsomely ornamented, and worn with much grace and pleasing effect.” The artist painted this portrait at a Ponca village in 1832. (Catlin, Letters and Notes , vol. 1, no. 26, 1841; reprint 1973)


Ethnic - Indian - Ponca

Portrait female - Bending Willow


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added