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Portraits of Grizzly Bear and Mouse, Life Size, 1846–48
oil
26 5/8 x 32 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Catlin brought two grizzly bears with his eight tons of Indian Gallery to England in 1839. The bears would have been a popular feature of the Indian Gallery's European tour had they not been such destructive pests. European audiences had to content themselves with life-size portraits such as this, in which the presence of a familiar, if bold, little mouse establishes the bear's huge size.


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