Horseracing on a Course Behind the Mandan Village

  • George Catlin, Horseracing on a Course Behind the Mandan Village, 1832-1833, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.432

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Horse-racing here, as in all more enlightened communities, is one of the most exciting amusements, and one of the most extravagant modes of gambling . . . I have been this day a spectator . . . on a course which they have, just back of their village; and although I never had the least taste for this cruel amusement in my own country, yet, I must say, I have been not a little amused and pleased with the thrilling effect which these exciting scenes have produced amongst so wild and picturesque a group . . . I have made a sketch of the ground and the group, as near as I could; shewing the manner of ‘starting’ and ‘coming out,’ which vary a little from the customs of the knowing world; but in other respects, I believe, a horse-race is the same all the world over.” George Catlin made this sketch at a Mandan village in 1832. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 20, 1841; reprint 1973)

Horseracing on a Course Behind the Mandan Village
On View
Not on view.
19 5/8 x 27 1/2 in. (49.7 x 70.0 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Architecture Exterior – domestic – teepee
  • Ethnic – Indian – Mandan
  • Animal – horse
  • Recreation – sport and play – equestrian
  • Western
  • Figure group
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI