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Comanche Moving Camp, Dog Fight Enroute

1834-1835 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 19 5/8 x 27 1/2 in. (49.8 x 70.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.466 Not currently on view

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“In speaking . . . of the mode of moving their wigwams, and changing their encampments, I should have . . . given to the reader, a sketch of one of these extraordinary scenes, which I have had the good luck to witness; where several thousands were on the march, and furnishing one of those laughable scenes which daily happen, where so many dogs, and so many squaws, are traveling in such a confused mass; with so many conflicting interests, and so many local and individual rights to be pertinaciously claimed and protected. Each horse drags his load, and each dog, i.e. each dog that will do it (and there are many that will not), also dragging his wallet on a couple of poles; and each squaw with her load, and all together (notwithstanding their burthens) cherishing their pugnacious feelings, which often bring them into general conflict, commencing usually amongst the dogs, and sure to result in fisticuffs of the women; whilst the men, riding leisurely on the right or the left, take infinite pleasure in overlooking these desperate conflicts, at which they are sure to have a laugh, and in which, as sure never to lend a hand.” George Catlin sketched this image at a Comanche village in 1834. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 42, 1841; reprint 1973)


Animal - dog

Ethnic - Indian - Comanche

Figure group

Landscape - plain

Travel - land


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added