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Joseph Henry Sharp
Quinnah
1902
oil
18 x 12 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Victor Justice Evans



Sharp described his subject in a letter, “Quinnah, Flathead (1902). A very strong type of young warrior, horse raider from the Crows and other tribes. Very reticent about his exploits. Became loyal to the Gov'mt and a model and progressive Indian, at that early date.” Sharp echoed a basic conflict in the period's attitude toward Indians as he simultaneously praised Quinnah's bravery as a warrior and his loyalty to the government. Reflecting another point of view, one critic later remarked, “Ethnologically these portraits are of great importance as portraying in the most faithful degree the famous men and general types of a race whose primary characteristics and customs will soon be a matter of tradition.”