La-dóo-ke-a, Buffalo Bull, a Grand Pawnee Warrior, 1832
29 x 24 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
This unfinished portrait of a Chaui Pawnee provides a key to Catlin's working methods in the West, where speed was of the essence. During Buffalo Bull's sitting, Catlin focused on his face and his totem (the buffalo head painted on his chest, partially hidden behind a large peace medal). The artist usually finished bodies and costume details in an urban studio.