Buffalo Bull, Grazing on the Prairie

Media - 1985.66.404 - SAAM-1985.66.404_1 - 9039
Copied George Catlin, Buffalo Bull, Grazing on the Prairie, 1832-1833, oil on canvas, 2429 in. (60.973.7 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.404
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Artwork Details

Buffalo Bull, Grazing on the Prairie
Not on view
2429 in. (60.973.7 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Animal
  • Western
  • Landscape — plain
  • Animal — buffalo
Object Number

Artwork Description

Beginning in 1830, artist-explorer George Catlin made five trips to the western frontier. He was inspired to go west by the idea that America’s native people and its great herds of buffalo would soon melt away in the face of advancing civilization.

The Great American Hall of Wonders, 2011

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“The American bison, or . . . buffalo, is the largest of the ruminating animals that is now living in America; and seems to have been spread over the plains of this vast country, by the Great Spirit, for the use and subsistence of the red men, who live almost exclusively on their flesh, and clothe themselves with their skins . . . The buffalo bull often grows to the enormous weight of 2000 pounds, and shakes a long and shaggy black mane, that falls in great profusion and confusion over his head and shoulders; and oftentimes falling down quite to the ground. The horns are short, but very large, and have but one turn, i.e. they are a simple arch, without the least approach to a spiral form, like those of the common ox, or of the goat species.” George Catlin made this sketch on the Upper Missouri in 1832. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 31, 1841; reprint 1973)