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George Catlin
The Wolf, a Chief
29 x 24 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Chief of the Kansas tribe, The Wolf was painted while Catlin was at Fort Leavenworth, a frontier military post in present-day Kansas. Catlin described the sitter as “a chief of some distinction, with a bold and manly outline of head; exhibiting, like most of his tribe, a European outline of features, signally worth the notice of the inquiring world. The head of this chief was most curiously ornamented, and his neck bore a profusion of wampum strings.” Catlin, like many in his day, believed some tribal groups may have originated in Europe.