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Co-ee-há-jo, a Chief

1838 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 29 x 24 in. (73.7 x 60.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.304 Not currently on view


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In January 1838, George Catlin traveled to Fort Moultrie, near Charleston, South Carolina, to paint the portraits of chiefs and warriors who were imprisoned for their involvement in the Seminole War. Among them was Seminole chief Co-ee-há-jo, and the war’s celebrated leader, Osceola. To gain access to the men required the intervention of the secretary of war, who ordered the fort’s commanding officer to provide any assistance that Catlin needed. Time was of the essence since Osceola had fallen ill and was feared to be dying. Catlin got his portraits of Co-ee-há-jo and Osceola, who died only a few days later. Here, Catlin recorded the pattern in the chief’s robe and the ruffled sleeves of his European shirt. (Gurney and Heyman, eds., George Catlin and His Indian Gallery, 2002)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Seminole

Occupation - other - chief

Portrait male - Co Ee Ha Jo - waist length

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added