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Bód-a-sin, Chief of the Tribe

1830 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. 1985.66.274 Not currently on view


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George Catlin probably painted this portrait of Bód-a-sin, chief of the Delaware/Lenape tribe, at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) in 1830. Catlin’s efforts from 1830 are generally considered his first attempts at Indian portraits in the West. He later described the tribe: “[They] originally occupied a great part of the Eastern border of Pennsylvania, and great part of the states of New Jersey and Delaware. No other tribe on the Continent has been so much moved and jostled about by civilized invasions; and none have retreated so far, or fought their way so desperately, as they have honourably and bravely contended for every foot of the ground they have passed over.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 47, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Delaware

Portrait male - Bod A Sin

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added