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Mah-kée-mee-teuv, Grizzly Bear, Chief of the Tribe

1831 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 21 1/8 x 16 1/8 in. (53.8 x 40.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.218 Not currently on view


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George Catlin described Grizzly Bear as a dignified chief of the Menominee tribe who “commanded great respect for his eloquence, and . . . deportment.” He painted the chief with “a handsome pipe in his hand, and wampum on his neck,” probably in Washington, D.C., in 1831, when Grizzly Bear and fourteen members of his tribe visited the capital to negotiate the sale of a portion of their tribal lands. This portrait is painted with a flourish and fullness of expression that distinguishes it among the Menominee group. (Truettner, The Natural Man Observed , 1979)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Menominee

Portrait male - Grizzly Bear

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added