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Ee-áh-sá-pa, Black Rock, a Two Kettle 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. 1985.66.80 Not currently on view


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Although George Catlin painted many bust-length portraits, this canvas is a rarer full-length figure. Catlin noted that Black Rock, a Western Sioux/Lakota who was highly respected by fur traders, was “a tall and fine looking man, of six feet or more in stature.” His long headdress is made of war-eagles' quills and ermine skins. His stance is regal, with a robe thrown over his shoulders and spear extended. To emphasize Black Rock’s nobility, Catlin borrowed a classical pose that he used frequently for important subjects. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 27, 1841, reprint 1973; Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Dakota

Ethnic - Indian - Sioux

Occupation - other - chief

Portrait male - Black Rock - full length

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added