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Mrs. Putnam Catlin (Mary "Polly" Sutton)

1825 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 watercolor on ivory sight 3 1/8 x 2 5/8 in. (8.0 x 6.7 cm) rectangle Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Catherine Walden Myer Fund 1939.2.1 Not currently on view


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In 1778, Catlin’s mother, Polly Sutton, and grandmother were captured by Indians at the surrender of Forty Fort, a stronghold built on a bluff above the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. There, the Battle of Wyoming had been fought against the combined forces of the British and Indians. Polly Sutton’s stories entranced her son George, and inspired his interest in Native American culture, as did visits to the Catlin home by various soldiers and explorers during the artist’s youth.

Keywords

Portrait female - Catlin, Putnam, Mrs. - bust

Portrait female - Sutton, Polly - bust

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor

ivory