Discovery Dance, Sac and Fox

  • George Catlin, Discovery Dance, Sac and Fox, 1835-1837, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.448

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“The Discovery Dance has been given here, amongst various others, and pleased the bystanders very much; it was exceedingly droll and picturesque, and acted out with a great deal of pantomimic effect---without music, or any other noise than the patting of their feet, which all came simultaneously on the ground, in perfect time, whilst they were dancing forward two or four at a time, in a skulking posture, overlooking the country, and professing to announce the approach of animals or enemies which they have discovered, by giving the signals back to the leader of the dance.” George Catlin first sketched this scene at a Sac and Fox village in 1835. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 56, 1841; reprint 1973)

Discovery Dance, Sac and Fox
On View
Not on view.
19 1/2 x 27 1/2 in. (49.5 x 69.9 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Figure group – male
  • Ethnic – Indian – Sauk and Fox
  • Ceremony – dance – Discovery Dance
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI