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Kee-án-ne-kuk, Foremost Man, Chief of the Tribe

1830 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. 1985.66.240 Not currently on view


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“The present chief of [the Kickapoos] . . . usually called the . . . Shawnee Prophet, is a very shrewd and talented man. When he sat for his portrait, he took his attitude as seen in the picture, which was that of prayer. And I soon learned that he was a very devoted Christian . . . It was told to me in the tribe by the Traders (though I am afraid to vouch for the whole truth of it), that while a Methodist preacher was soliciting him for permission to preach in his village, the Prophet refused him the privilege, but secretly took him aside and supported him until he learned from him his creed, and his system of teaching it to others.” George Catlin probably executed this work at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) in 1830. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 47, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Kickapoo

Portrait male - Foremost Man

Portrait male - Foremost Man - bust

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added