Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Portrait of a Woman

ca. 1825-1830 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 19 7/8 x 14 in. (50.5 x 35.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David C. Morse 1984.139.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 4B

Luce Center Label

This woman may be George Catlin’s sister, Mary. In this portrait, she wears a decorative lace garment called a bertha and a colorful red shawl that help to soften her rather severe expression. Catlin had no formal training in portraiture, and the New York critic and painter William Dunlap labeled him “utterly incompetent.” Despite this unpromising beginning, Catlin went on to create his celebrated Indian Gallery, documenting the faces, personalities, and tribal rituals of Native Americans.


Portrait female - unidentified


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

paperboard - support added