Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Buffalo Herds Crossing the Upper Missouri

1832 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 11 1/4 x 14 3/8 in. (28.5 x 36.6 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.400 Not currently on view


Luce Center Label

“Near the mouth of White River, we met the most immense herd crossing the Missouri River---and from an imprudence got our boat into imminent danger amongst them, from which we were highly delighted to make our escape. It was in the midst of the ‘running season,’ and we had heard the ‘roaring’ (as it is called) of the herd, when we were several miles from them. When we came in sight, we were actually terrified at the immense numbers that were streaming down the green hills on one side of the river, and galloping up and over the bluff s on the other. The river was filled, and in parts blackened, with their heads and horns, as they were swimming about . . . furiously hooking and climbing on to each other. I rose in my canoe, and by my gestures and hallooing, kept them from coming in contact with us, until we were out of their reach.” George Catlin sketched this scene in 1832, during his long voyage on the Missouri River. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 32, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Animal - buffalo

Ethnic - Indian

Figure(s) in exterior - frontier

Landscape - river - Missouri River

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added