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John Mix Stanley
Buffalo Hunt on the Southwestern Prairies
1845
oil
60 3/4 x 40 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Misses Henry



Stanley simply remarked of this painting of the Keechies tribe that it is “on the South-western Prairies” in the annotated catalogue of his portraits of North American Indians which he published in 1852. Perhaps then, even as now, the subject of an Indian buffalo hunt seemed so romantic as to need no further description. That same year Stanley took his collection of Indian paintings to Washington, where they were put on display in the recently created Smithsonian Institution. Tragically, a fire in the Smithsonian Castle in January, 1865, destroyed all but a handful of the paintings in his Indian gallery.