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Shon-ta-yi-ga, Little Wolf, a Famous Warrior

1844 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. 1985.66.521 Not currently on view

Luce Center Label

Between 1844 and 1845, fourteen members of the Iowa tribe joined George Catlin’s tour of London and Paris. In France, their achievements were impressive: the whole party met King Louis Philippe, Catlin installed the Indian Gallery in the Louvre, and he exhibited works in the prestigious Paris Salon. However, Europe held tragedy as well. Several people in Catlin’s entourage died of disease or illness. Shon-ta-yi-ga, an Iowa warrior, experienced heartbreak that paralleled Catlin’s own. Both men lost a wife and a son while on this trip. Catlin’s quest cost him not only personally, but financially, and he was thrown into debtors’ prison in 1852.


Ethnic - Indian - Iowa

Portrait male - Little Wolf


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added