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Wa-ho-béck-ee, a Handsome Brave

1834 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. 1985.66.33 Not currently on view

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This member of the Osage tribe sat for his portrait in characteristic tribal markings, including a painted and shaved head as well as a painted upper body. George Catlin described Wa-ho-béck-ee as “a brave; said to be the handsomest man in the nation; with a profusion of wampum on his neck, and a fan in his hand made of the eagle's tail.” Wa-ho-béck-ee sat for his portrait at Fort Gibson (in present-day Oklahoma) in 1834. (Catlin, 1848 Catalogue, Catlin’s Indian Gallery, SAAM online exhibition)


Dress - accessory - fan

Dress - ethnic - Indian dress

Ethnic - Indian - Osage

Portrait male - Wa Ho Beck Ee - waist length


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added