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Wah-pe-séh-see, Mother of the Chief

1830 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. 1985.66.247 Not currently on view

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Wah-pe-séh-see was the mother of the Kaskaskia/Miami chief Kee-món-saw, or Little Chief (see 1985.66.246). George Catlin, who described her as “a very aged woman,” probably painted her portrait at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) in 1830. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 47, 1841; reprint 1973)


Ethnic - Indian - Kaskaskia

Portrait female - Wah Pe Seh See


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added