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Mick-e-no-páh, Chief of the Tribe

1838 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. 1985.66.300 Not currently on view


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George Catlin painted Mick-e-no-páh at Fort Moultrie, Charleston, South Carolina, in January 1838. He wrote of the Seminole chief: “Mick-e-no-pah is the head chief of the tribe, and a very lusty and dignified man. He took great pleasure in being present every day in my room, whilst I was painting the others; but positively refused to be painted, until he found that a bottle of whiskey, and another of wine, which I kept on my mantelpiece . . . were only to deal out their occasional kindnesses to those who sat for their portraits; when he at length agreed to be painted, ‘if I could make a fair likeness of his legs,’ which he had very tastefully dressed in a handsome pair of red leggings, and upon which I at once began, (as he sat cross-legged), by painting them on the lower part of the canvas, leaving room for his body and head above.” Catlin also mentioned that the subject “owned 100 negroes when the [Seminole] war broke out, and was raising large and valuable crops of corn and cotton.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 57, 1841, reprint 1973, and 1848 Catalogue, Catlin’s Indian Gallery, SAAM online exhibition)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Seminole

Occupation - other - chief

Portrait male - Mick E No Pah - full length

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added