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View on the Missouri, Alluvial Banks Falling in, 600 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 36.4 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.363 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 2B

Luce Center Label

George Catlin painted views of the Missouri River during the spring floods, and this image suggests that the ground he stood on was threatened by rising waters. He wrote that the river was “filled with snags and rafts, formed of trees of the largest size” and that such conditions made for a “most frightful and discouraging prospect for the adventurous voyageur.” Catlin had a sense of humor, and called the Missouri his “River of Sticks, ” playing on the mythological river Styx that leads to the underworld. (Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 3, 1841; reprint 1973)


Landscape - river - Missouri River



paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added