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O-tá-wah, The Ottaway, a Warrior

1835 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. 1985.66.188 Not currently on view


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George Catlin described this painting as a “portrait of a warrior . . . with his pipe in his hand . . . Smoking is a luxury so highly valued by the Indians, they have bestowed much pains, and not a little ingenuity, to the construction of their pipes. Of these I have procured a collection of several hundreds, and have given facsimile outlines of a number of the most curious. The bowls of these are generally made of the red steatite, or ‘pipe-stone’ (as it is more familiarly called in this country), and many of them designed and carved with much taste and skill, with figures and groups in alto relievo, standing or reclining upon them.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vols. 1&2, nos. 29, 51; 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Ojibwa

Portrait male - Ottaway

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added