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Comanche Warriors, with White Flag, Receiving the Dragoons

1834-1835 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 24 x 29 1/8 in. (61.1 x 73.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.353 Not currently on view


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“In the midst of this lovely valley, we could just discern amongst the scattering shrubbery that lined the banks of the watercourses, the tops of the Camanchee wigwams, and the smoke curling above them. The valley, for a mile distant about the village, seemed speckled with horses and mules that were grazing in it. The chiefs of the war-party requested the regiment to halt, until they could ride in, and inform their people who were coming. We then dismounted for an hour or so; when we could see them busily running and catching their horses; and at length, several hundreds of their braves and warriors came out at full speed to welcome us, and forming in a line in front of us, as we were again mounted, presented a formidable and pleasing appearance. As they wheeled their horses, they very rapidly formed in a line, and ‘dressed’ like well-disciplined cavalry.” The dashes of pigment indicating formations of dragoons and Indians reflect the speed with which George Catlin sketched this scene. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 41, 1841, reprint 1973; Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Comanche

Figure(s) in exterior - frontier

History - United States - westward expansion

Occupation - military - soldier

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added