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Náw-káw, Wood, Former Chief of the Tribe

1828 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 18 1/2 x 14 in. (47.0 x 35.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.209 Not currently on view


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Before George Catlin began his extensive travels in the West, he spent time in eastern cities, where he often saw visiting delegations of Native Americans and painted their portraits. Nine members of a Winnebago delegation from present-day Wisconsin sat for him in Washington, D.C., in 1828, and among them was former Winnebago chief Náw-káw, or Wood. Catlin wrote that “this man has been much distinguished in his time, for his eloquence; and he desired me to paint him in the attitude of an orator, addressing his people.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 52, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Winnebago

Portrait male - Wood

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added