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Koon-za-ya-me, Female War Eagle

1844 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. 1985.66.528 Not currently on view


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Strutting Pigeon, Pigeon on the Wing, and Female War Eagle were among the fourteen Iowa who joined George Catlin in London in the 1840s, during the artist’s trip to Europe to exhibit and promote his Indian Gallery. Catlin eventually added the visiting Indians to his show, in which they performed dances and songs. His addition of Native Americans was controversial from the start. Charged with exploiting simple, innocent people in an alien and overwhelming environment, Catlin responded that he was actually rescuing Indians brought overseas by unscrupulous promoters. But his constant addition of new acts, including demonstrations of riding, shooting, and tipi-building in London’s Vauxhall Gardens, undermined his credibility. These portraits of Iowa women were probably painted in London in 1844. (Gurney and Heyman, eds., George Catlin and His Indian Gallery, 2002)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Iowa

Portrait female - Female War Eagle

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added