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Little Bear, Steep Wind, The Dog; Three Distinguished Warriors of the Sioux Tribe

ca. 1865-1871 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on paperboard 18 3/4 x 24 7/8 in. (47.7 x 63.3 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.362,054 Not currently on view


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After traveling and painting in South America, George Catlin settled in Brussels in 1860, where he re-created many of the works from his Indian Gallery. He called his second collection “cartoons” because he created the images from pencil outlines drawn on cardboard. In this composition, he combined three individual portraits from the Indian Gallery into a group portrait. “I painted the portrait of a celebrated warrior of the Sioux,” Catlin wrote, “by the name of Mah-to-chee-ga (the little bear), who was unfortunately slain in a few moments after the picture was done, by one of his own tribe . . . The man who slew this noble warrior was a troublesome fellow of the same tribe, by the name of Shon-ka (the dog).” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 32, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Dakota

Ethnic - Indian - Sioux

Portrait male - Dog

Portrait male - Little Bear

Portrait male - Steep Wind

painting

paint - oil

paperboard