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Wée-ke-rú-law, He Who Exchanges

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. 1985.66.121 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 3A

Luce Center Label

This portrait reflects George Catlin’s respect for the Native Americans who posed for him. He Who Exchanges looked directly at Catlin while the painter worked to capture his likeness. The figure’s pose reflects the symbolic importance of the effigy pipe he holds in his hand. Catlin had been given a similar pipe by a Pawnee, who explained that the seated figure on the pipe was his own portrait and that it would enable him to look a white man in the face. (Gurney and Heyman, eds., George Catlin and His Indian Gallery, 2002)


Ethnic - Indian - Oto

Portrait male - He Who Exchanges - bust

Recreation - leisure - smoking


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added