Assiniboine Indians Pursuing Buffalo on Snowshoes, 184548
19 1/2 x 27 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Painted in Paris 18461848 (see no. 416). Catlin must have produced over 100 pictures between 1846 and early 1848. Those intended for Louis Philippe were finished with great care (see no. 449), but others are little more than hasty sketches he painted to round out his collection for European audiences (see no. 543). Even at high speed, however, Catlin had a surprisingly delicate and sure touch, giving to his figures the animated presence of actors on a miniature stage. The setting is not the Great Plains or the Upper Missouri, but a land of fantastic foliage and bright pastel tones shaped by the artist's beguiling and fanciful memory.