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Buffalo Chase in Winter, Indians on Snowshoes

1832-1833 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 24 x 29 in. (60.9 x 73.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.416 Not currently on view


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In the summer, plains bison led mounted pursuers on dangerous chases. Winter snows, however, made tracking buffalo safer and easier, slowing the animal’s escape and allowing Indian hunters on snowshoes to move easily over the ground. Catlin traveled in the West in the warmer months and never witnessed such a hunt, but he undoubtedly heard descriptions from both Indians and whites and may have seen the first known representation of it, by the Swiss-Canadian artist Peter Rindisbacher. Catlin painted this work in his studio during the winter of 1832-33.

Keywords

Animal - buffalo

Ethnic - Indian

Figure(s) in exterior - frontier

Landscape - season - winter

Occupation - hunter

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas