Indians in Council, California

  • Albert Bierstadt, Indians in Council, California, ca. 1872, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Marvin J. and Shirley F. Sonosky in memory of Harryette Cohn, 1998.148

Albert Bierstadt spent two years in California in the early 1870s, sketching the landscape of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. He was fascinated by the Native Americans he encountered on his journeys and made many sketches of their dwellings, dress, and weapons, including this painting of a group of Indian leaders. He felt that the Native American way of life was rapidly passing away,” and that it was his duty to tell his portion of their history.” (Letter from the artist, July 10, 1859, The Crayon, quoted in Anderson and Ferber, Albert Bierstadt: Art and Enterprise, 1990)

Indians in Council, California
ca. 1872
Not on view
15 7821 78 in. (40.455.5 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Marvin J. and Shirley F. Sonosky in memory of Harryette Cohn

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Landscape – California
  • Figure group
  • Ceremony – Indian – council
  • Indian
  • Architecture Exterior – domestic – teepee
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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