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Clay Bluffs, Twenty Miles above the Mandans

1832 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 11 1/4 x 14 1/2 in. (28.6 x 36.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.401 Not currently on view

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“These curious bluffs must be seen as they are in nature; or else in a painting, where their colours are faithfully given, or they lose their picturesque beauty, which consists in the variety of their vivid tints. The strata of clay are alternating from red to yellow---white---brown and dark blue; and so curiously arranged, as to form the most pleasing and singular effects.” George Catlin sketched this scene in 1832, during his long voyage on the Missouri River. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 10, 1841; reprint 1973)


Landscape - mountain

Landscape - plain

Landscape - river



paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added