Beautiful Prairie Bluffs above the Poncas, 1050 Miles above St. Louis

  • George Catlin, Beautiful Prairie Bluffs above the Poncas, 1050 Miles above St. Louis, 1832, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.397

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"The summit level of the great prairies stretching off to the west and the east from the river, to an almost boundless extent, is from two to three hundred feet above the level of the river; which has formed a bed or valley for its course, varying in width from two to twenty miles. This channel or valley has been evidently produced by the force of the current, which has gradually excavated, in its floods and gorges, this immense space, and sent its debris into the ocean. By the continual overflowing of the river, its deposits have been lodged and left with a horizontal surface, spreading the deepest and richest alluvion over the surface of its meadows on either side; through which the river winds its serpentine course, alternately running from one bluff to the other, which present themselves to its shores in all the most picturesque and beautiful shapes and colours imaginable---some with their green sides gracefully slope down in the most lovely groups to the water's edge." George Catlin sketched this scene during a voyage on the Missouri River in 1832. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 3, 1841; reprint 1973)

Title
Beautiful Prairie Bluffs above the Poncas, 1050 Miles above St. Louis
Artist
Date
1832
Location
Not on view
Dimensions
11 1/4 x 14 3/8 in. (28.5 x 36.6 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Landscape – mountain – Poncas Mountains
  • Landscape – plain
  • Landscape – United States
Object Number
1985.66.397
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI