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Seet-sé-be-a, Midday Sun, a Pretty Girl

1832 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. 1985.66.175 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 3A


Luce Center Label

George Catlin explained that his model, a young Hidatsa woman, was “a descendent from the old chief . . . a fair sample of them, and dressed in beautiful costume of the mountain-sheep skin, handsomely garnished with porcupine quills and beads.” The young girl had repeatedly refused to let Catlin paint her portrait, claiming that she was not pretty enough for such an honor. But her relatives insisted that she sit for Catlin, who described her as “more than comely.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 23, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Architecture Exterior - domestic - hut

Dress - ethnic - Indian dress

Ethnic - Indian - Hidatsa

Portrait female - Midday Sun - full length

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added