menu American Art Home Catlin Home Highlights from the Catlin Exhibition Campfire Stories with George Catlin: An Encounter of Two Cultures Catlin Shop Press Information
empty space
empty space empty space empty space empty space
Viewer Prefs small type large type empty space

11 of 34
Previous | Next

Ball-play of the Choctaw—Ball up, 1846–50
25 3/4 x 32 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Catlin was a big fan of Choctaw lacrosse, which he witnessed in Indian Territory in 1834. He described ball-play as "a school for the painter or sculptor, equal to any of those which ever inspired the hand of the artist in the Olympian games or the Roman forum." Lacrosse was a physical, even violent, game called "little brother of war" in Choctaw that included no-holds-barred scuffling and wrestling as players struggled desperately for the ball.

American Art Home | Catlin Home
Virtual Exhibition | Catlin Classroom
Shop | Press