Mah-tó-he-ha, Old Bear, a Medicine Man
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.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, South Wing
Luce Center Label
At twelve o'clock, “having used the whole of the fore-part of the day at his toilette,” George Catlin wrote, Old Bear arrived at the artist’s lodge “bedaubed and streaked with paints of various colours, with bear's grease and charcoal, with medicine-pipes in his hands and foxes tails attached to his heels [and] with a train of his own profession, who seated themselves around him . . . He took his position in the middle of the room, waving his eagle calumets in each hand, and singing his medicine-song . . . looking me full in the face until I completed his picture, which I painted at full length.” The artist painted Old Bear at a Mandan village in 1832. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 15, 1841; reprint 1973)
Dress - ethnic - Indian dress
Ethnic - Indian - Mandan
Portrait male - Old Bear - full length
paint - oil
fabric - canvas
metal - aluminum - support added
About George Catlin
Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872
More works in the collection by
- George Catlin and His Indian Gallery / American Art
- George Catlin's Indian Gallery / American Art
- Exhibitions / American Art
- Online Exhibitions / Smithsonian American Art Museum
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