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Hidatsa Village, Earth-covered Lodges, on the Knife River, 1810 Miles above St. Louis

1832 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 11 1/4 x 14 3/8 in. (28.5 x 36.6 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.383 Not currently on view

Luce Center Label

As George Catlin journeyed up the Missouri River, he wrote that the scenery was “quite peculiar and curious; rendered extremely so by the continual wild and garrulous groups of men, women, and children . . . dashing and plunging through its blue waves, enjoying the luxury of swimming, of which both sexes seem to be passionately fond.” In this image Catlin contrasted the stillness of those watching from the bluffs with the exuberance of the swimmers, one of whom plunges into the water as his comrades race to catch up with him, their arms comically waving in the air. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 23, 1841; reprint 1973)


Architecture Exterior - domestic - teepee

Ethnic - Indian - Hidatsa

Figure group

Landscape - river - Knife River



paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added