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Cháh-ee-chópes, Four Wolves, a Chief in Mourning

1832 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. 1985.66.162 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. Two years later, he began the first of several journeys deep into the western frontier, boarding the steamboat Yellowstone at St. Louis for a two-thousand-mile run up the Missouri River to Fort Union. The fort, an outpost maintained by the American Fur Company, brought Catlin in contact with the Blackfoot and Crow. Among the masterful portraits he made on that journey is this image of the Crow chief Four Wolves. The chief, Catlin later wrote, was “in mourning for a brother; and according to their custom, [he] cut off a number of locks of his long hair, which is as much as a man can well spare of so valued an ornament, which he has been for the greater part of his life cultivating.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 8, 1841, reprint 1973; Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Crow

Portrait male - Four Wolves

Portrait male - Four Wolves - bust

State of being - emotion - sorrow

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added