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Buffalo Chase in Snowdrifts, Indians Pursuing on Snowshoes

1832-1833 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 24 x 29 1/8 in. (61.0 x 74.1 cm) irregular Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.417 Not currently on view


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“In the dead of the winters, which are very long and severely cold in this country, where horses cannot be brought into the chase with any avail, the Indian runs upon the surface of the snow by the aid of his snow shoes, which buoy him up, while the great weight of the buffaloes, sinks them down to the middle of their sides, and completely stopping their progress, ensures them certain and easy victims to the bow or lance of their pursuers . . . This is the season in which the greatest number of these animals are destroyed for their robes---they are most easily killed at this time, and their hair or fur being longer and more abundant, gives greater value to the robe.” George Catlin painted this work in his studio during the winter of 1832-33. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 31, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Animal - buffalo

Ethnic - Indian

Figure group - male

Landscape - season - winter

Occupation - hunter

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added