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View from Floyd's Grave, 1300 Miles above St. Louis

1832 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 11 1/4 x 14 3/8 in. (28.5 x 36.6 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.398 Not currently on view


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“‘Floyd's Grave’ is a name given to one of the most lovely and imposing mounds or bluffs on the Missouri River, about twelve hundred miles above St. Louis, from the melancholy fate of Serjeant Floyd, who was of Lewis and Clark's expedition, in 1806; who died on the way, and whose body was taken to this beautiful hill, and buried in its top, where now stands a cedar post, bearing the initials of his name . . . I landed my canoe in front of this grass-covered mound, and . . . several times ascended it and sat upon his grave, overgrown with grass and the most delicate wild flowers, where I . . . contemplated the solitude and stillness of this tenanted mound; and beheld from its top, the windings infinite of the Missouri, and its thousand hills and domes of green, vanishing into blue in distance, when nought but the soft-breathing winds were heard, to break the stillness and quietude of the scene. Where not the chirping of bird or sound of cricket, nor soaring eagle's scream, were interposed ‘tween God and man; nor aught to check man’s whole surrender of his soul to his creator.” George Catlin sketched this scene on his 1832 Missouri River voyage. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 32, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Landscape - river

Monument - gravestone - Floyd

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added