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George Catlin
Há-tchoo-túc-knee, Snapping Turtle, a Half-breed, 1834
Choctaw
oil
29 x 24 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.


Described by Catlin as “a distinguished and very gentlemanly man, who has been well-educated, and who gave me much curious and valuable information, of the history and traditions of his tribe” (Letters and Notes, vol. 2, p. 123, pl. 222).

Painted at Fort Gibson in 1834. The facial features in the Gilcrease watercolor appear too stiff and finished beside the Smithsonian original. Both portraits match plate 222 of Letters and Notes.

Charles Dickens, who had probably seen Catlin's Indian Gallery in London, recalls meeting Snapping Turtle in this country in 1842 (see National Portrait Gallery catalogue). The Indian praised Catlin's work and remarked to Dickens that his own portrait was in the collection. Snapping Turtle also appears, full length, in cartoon 65.



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