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Shé-de-ah, Wild Sage, a Wichita Woman

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. 1985.66.59 Not currently on view

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George Catlin probably painted this portrait of Wild Sage at Fort Gibson, in present-day northeastern Oklahoma. Catlin noted that she was one of two young women who had been held prisoner by the Osages, and purchased and returned to her own tribe by the Indian commissioner. “Amongst the women of this tribe [Wichita], there were many that were exceedingly pretty in feature and in form; and also in expression, though their skins are very dark . . . [They] are always decently and comfortably clad, being covered generally with a gown or slip, that reaches from the chin quite down to the ankles, made of deer or elk skins.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 43, 1841; reprint 1973)


Ethnic - Indian - Wichita

Portrait female - Wild Sage - waist length


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added