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Wah-ro-née-sah, The Surrounder, Chief of the Tribe

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. 1985.66.117 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, South Wing

Luce Center Label

George Catlin described this sitter as “quite an old man; his shirt made of the skin of a grizzly bear, with the claws on.” The Surrounder was chief of the Otoe tribe, who lived in spacious timber lodges perched on a ridge overlooking the Platte River. His bear claw necklace suggests he was a member of the Bear Clan, which shared leadership of the Otoes with the Buffalo Clan. Catlin probably painted The Surrounder at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) in 1832. (Catlin, 1848 Catalogue, Catlin’s Indian Gallery, SAAM online exhibition)


Dress - ethnic - Indian dress

Ethnic - Indian - Oto

Portrait male - Surrounder, The - bust


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added