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George Catlin
Wild Sage, a Wichita Woman
1834
oil
29 x 24 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.



Wild Sage was likely painted at Fort Gibson, in present-day northeastern Oklahoma. Catlin notes that she was one of two young women who had been held prisoner by the Osages, and purchased and returned to her own tribe by the Indian Commissioner. “Amongst the women of this tribe, there were many that were exceedingly pretty in feature and in form; and also in expression, though their skins are very dark.…[They] are always decently and comfortably clad, being covered generally with a gown or slip, that reaches from the chin quite down to the ankles, made of deer or elk skins.”