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Little Bear, Steep Wind, The Dog; Three Distinguished Warriors of the Sioux Tribe, about 1865–71
oil
18 3/4 x 24 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

From the beginning, Catlin copied works in the Indian Gallery in oil, watercolor, and pencil. More than mere duplicates, some of Catlin's copies are more ambitious than their originals (see the two versions of the Scalp Dance [.438, .438B]). After the American industrialist Joseph P. Harrison, Jr., paid off Catlin's debts, taking the Indian Gallery as security in 1852, Catlin reconstructed his collection in what he called his "cartoon collection" because images were created from pencil outlines drawn on cardboard. He copied and combined the subjects of several works from his first Indian Gallery in multifigured group portraits. He also enlarged the scope of the Indian Gallery by adding portraits of South American, Pacific Northwest, and Rocky Mountain Indians whom he did not visit until the 1850s. This work is itself a copy after the original in the cartoon collection.


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