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George Catlin
Cól-lee, a Band Chief, 1834
Cherokee
oil
29 x 24 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.


“An aged and dignified chief. … This man … as well as a very great proportion of the Cherokee population, has a mixture of red and white blood in his veins, of which, in this instance, the first seems decidedly to predominate” (Letters and Notes, vol. 2, p. 119, pl. 217).

Painted at Fort Gibson in 1834. Catlin refers to the subject as Jol-lee in Letters and Notes.

The oil portrait has been modeled with a vivacity and assurance that almost equals number 284, but the Gilcrease watercolor, for once, also looks much like a life study (fig. 146). The subject is half-length in the latter, and a chair back is visible behind his right shoulder. The Smithsonian portrait more closely resembles plate 217 in Letters and Notes.

Cól-lee appears again, full length, in cartoon 71.



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