Kee-o-kúk, The Watchful Fox, Chief of the Tribe, on Horseback

  • George Catlin, Kee-o-kúk, The Watchful Fox, Chief of the Tribe, on Horseback, 1835, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.1A

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“After I had painted the portrait of this vain man at full length, and which I have already introduced, he had the vanity to say to me, that he made a fine appearance on horseback, and that he wished me to paint him thus. So I prepared my canvas in the door of the hospital which I occupied, in the dragoon cantonment; and he flourished about for a considerable part of the day in front of me, until the picture was completed. The horse that he rode was the best animal on the frontier; a fine blooded horse, for which he gave the price of 300 dollars, a thing that he was quite able to, who had the distribution of 50,000 dollars annuities, annually, amongst his people. He made a great display on this day, and hundreds of the dragoons and officers were about him, and looking on during the operation. His horse was beautifully caparisoned, and his scalps were carried attached to the bridle-bits.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 56, 1841; reprint 1973)

Kee-o-kúk, The Watchful Fox, Chief of the Tribe, on Horseback
On View
Not on view.
24 x 29 in. (61 x 73.7 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Portrait male – Keokuk – equestrian portrait
  • Ethnic – Indian – Sauk and Fox
  • Dress – ethnic – Indian dress
Object Number
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