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Madame Ferrebault's Prairie, above Prairie du Chien

1835-1836 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 19 5/8 x 27 1/2 in. (49.7 x 70.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.322 Not currently on view

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In addition to portraits of Native Americans, George Catlin captured images of the western landscape, and recorded his responses to the West’s remarkable beauty in his travel account Letters and Notes. Here, he describes his journey on the Upper Mississippi in 1835: “The traveller in ascending the river, will see but little of picturesque beauty in the landscape, until be reaches Rock Island; and from that point he will find it growing gradually more interesting, until he reaches Prairie du Chien; and from that place until he arrives at Lake Pepin, every reach and turn in the river presents to his eye a more immense and magnificent scene of grandeur and beauty. From day to day, the eye is riveted in listless, tireless admiration, upon the thousand bluffs which tower in majesty above the river on either side, and alternate as the river bends, into countless fascinating forms.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 50, 1841; reprint 1973)


Ethnic - Indian

Figure group - male

Landscape - plain

Landscape - river

Landscape - Wisconsin - Prairie du Chien

Travel - water - canoe


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added