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Elbridge Ayer Burbank
Pah-lah-wool-ey
1904
oil
13 1/8 x 9 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Victor Justice Evans



Burbank, like George Catlin, set out to create an archive of Indian likenesses from as many different tribes as possible. He painted over 1,200 portraits of Native Americans, representing more than 100 tribes and featuring prominent Native American figures, including “Chief Geronimo.” In many cases, these works are the only surviving portraits of the sitters. Burbank identified his subjects—posed as if they were ethnographic studies—and he recorded the location of the sitting—for these works, Polacca, Arizona, a Tewa/Hopi village founded by the government in 1888.