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String, a Renowned Warrior

1831 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 21 1/8 x 16 1/2 in. (53.8 x 41.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.268 Not currently on view

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The Seneca warrior String came to Washington in early 1831, accompanying a delegation of his tribesmen who were there to negotiate a treaty for the sale of their lands south of Lake Erie to the United States. George Catlin probably painted String and other members of the tribe in the capital that year. The artist described the Senecas as “one of the most numerous and effective tribes, constituting the compact called the ‘Six Nations’ . . . a confederacy formed by six tribes, who joined in a league as an effective mode of gaining strength, and preserving themselves by combined efforts which would be sufficiently strong to withstand the assaults of neighbouring tribes, or to resist the incursions of white people in their country.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 47, 1841, reprint 1973; Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979)


Ethnic - Indian - Seneca

Portrait male - String


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added