Distant View of the Mandan Village

  • George Catlin, Distant View of the Mandan Village, 1832, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.379

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“This tribe is at present located on the west bank of the Missouri, about 1800 miles above St. Louis, and 200 below the Mouth of Yellow Stone river . . . The site of the lower (or principal) town . . . is one of the most beautiful and pleasing that can be seen in the world, and even more beautiful than imagination could ever create. In the very midst of an extensive valley (embraced within a thousand graceful swells and parapets or mounds of interminable green, changing to blue, as they vanish in distance) . . . On an extensive plain . . . without tree or bush . . . are to be seen rising from the ground, and towards the heavens, domes---(not ‘of gold,’ but) of dirt---and the thousand spears (not ‘spires’) and scalp-poles, &c. &c., of the semi-subterraneous village of the hospitable and gentlemanly Mandans.” Fort Clark, the American Fur Company outpost, is at the left of the village. George Catlin painted this image in 1832 while on a lengthy voyage northwest on the Missouri River. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 11, 1841, reprint 1973; Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979)

Distant View of the Mandan Village
11 1/4 x 14 1/2 in. (28.5 x 36.7 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Landscape – United States
  • Western
  • Architecture Exterior – domestic – teepee
Object Number
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