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White Sand Bluffs, on Santa Rosa Island, Near Pensacola

1834-1835 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 19 1/2 x 27 1/2 in. (49.6 x 69.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.354 Not currently on view

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George Catlin painted this scene in the winter of 1834-35, during his visit to Florida. “This sketch,” he later wrote, “was made on Santa Rosa Island, within a few miles of Pensacola . . . The hills of sand are as purely white as snow, and fifty or sixty feet in height, and supporting on their tops, and in their sides, clusters of magnolia bushes---of myrtle---of palmetto and heather, all of which are evergreens, forming the most vivid contrast with the snow-white sand in which they are growing. On the beach a family of Seminole Indians are encamped, catching and drying red fish, their chief article of food.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 36, 1841, reprint 1973; Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979)


Ethnic - Indian

Figure group

Landscape - coast

Landscape - Florida - Pensacola

Landscape - Florida - Santa Rosa Island

Landscape - island - Santa Rosa Island


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added