• Elbridge Ayer Burbank, Geronimo, 1899, oil on board, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Given in memory of Doris and James Snell, friends of the artist, 2000.68

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Geronimo was a medicine man and highly respected Apache leader who fought to protect his tribe from the government’s Indian policies. He avoided capture several times, but in 1886 he surrendered and was sent with other Apaches to a reservation at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Thereafter, he served as a government scout, worked as a farmer, and joined the Dutch Reformed Church. He was a public figure who participated in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West touring show, Theodore Roosevelt’s inauguration, and the St. Louis World’s Fair. Elbridge Ayer Burbank’s uncle Edward Everett Ayer commissioned the artist to paint portraits of Native Americans, and Geronimo was his first subject. In this half-length painting, Burbank showed Geronimo in profile. The great Apache seems still to be on guard, turning warily to confront an approaching visitor. (Truettner, ed., The West As America: Reinterpreting Images of the Frontier, 1820-1920, 1991)

On View
12 x 10 in. (30.4 x 25.4 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Given in memory of Doris and James Snell, friends of the artist

Mediums Description
oil on board
  • Ethnic – Indian – Apache
  • Portrait male – Geronimo – bust
  • Occupation – other – chief
Object Number
Linked Open Data
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