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Wán-ee-ton, 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. 1985.66.72 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, East Wing

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In 1830, Catlin accompanied William Clark, of the celebrated Lewis and Clark expedition, up the Mississippi River from St. Louis to Fort Crawford. Two years later, he began the first of several journeys deep into the frontier, traveling up the Missouri River. At Fort Pierre, a fur-trading post situated in what is now South Dakota, he met Wán-ee-ton, chief of the Yanktonai Nakota tribe. Catlin considered him “one of the most noted and dignified, as well graceful chiefs of the Sioux tribe,” and went on to describe his portrait of the chief as “full-length, in a splendid dress; head-dress of war-eagle’s quills and ermine, and painted robe.” (Catlin, 1848 Catalogue, Catlin’s Indian Gallery, SAAM online exhibition)


Ethnic - Indian - Dakota

Portrait male - Wan Ee Ton


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added