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Deep Lake, an Old Chief

1831 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 21 1/8 x 16 1/2 in. (53.6 x 41.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.264 Not currently on view


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In 1830, Catlin accompanied William Clark, of the celebrated Lewis and Clark expedition, up the Mississippi River from St. Louis to Fort Crawford. Before he began more extensive travels in 1832, however, he spent time in eastern cities, where he often saw visiting delegations of Native Americans and was able to paint their portraits. In Washington, D.C., in January and February 1831, Catlin painted Menominee and Seneca delegations, including this portrait of the Ohio Seneca chief Deep Lake. The chief and other members of his tribe were in the capital to negotiate a treaty for the sale of their lands south of Lake Erie. By 1838, the Senecas’ removal from their remaining lands had been set out in the Treaty of Buffalo Creek, and the tribe was to remove to what is known today as Kansas. (Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979; Hoxie, ed., Encyclopedia of North American Indians, 1996)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Seneca

Portrait male - Deep Lake

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added