Beautiful Grassy Bluffs, 110 Miles above St. Louis

Media - 1985.66.373 - SAAM-1985.66.373_1 - 8922
Copied George Catlin, Beautiful Grassy Bluffs, 110 Miles above St. Louis, 1832, oil on canvas, 11 1814 38 in. (28.436.6 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.373
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Artwork Details

Beautiful Grassy Bluffs, 110 Miles above St. Louis
11 1814 38 in. (28.436.6 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Landscape — river
  • Western
  • Landscape — plain
  • Landscape — United States
Object Number

Artwork Description

“We landed our canoe at the base of a beautiful series of grass-covered bluffs, which, like thousands and thousands of others on the banks of this river, are designated by no name, that I know of; and I therefore introduce them as fair specimens of the grassy bluffs of the Missouri . . . I took my easel, and canvas and brushes, to the top of the bluff, and painted the two views from the same spot; the one looking up, and the other down the river. The reader, by imagining these hills to be five or six hundred feet high, and every foot of them, as far as they can be discovered in distance, covered with a vivid green turf, whilst the sun is gilding one side, and throwing a cool shadow on the other, will be enabled to form something like an adequate idea of the shores of the Missouri. From this enchanting spot there was nothing to arrest the eye from ranging over its waters for the distance of twenty or thirty miles, where it quietly glides between its barriers, formed of thousands of green and gracefully sloping hills, with its rich and alluvial meadows, and woodlands---and its hundred islands, covered with stately cotton-wood.” George Catlin painted this image in 1832 while on a lengthy voyage northwest on the Missouri River. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 32, 1841; reprint 1973)