La-dóo-ke‑a, Buffalo Bull, a Grand Pawnee Warrior

Media - 1985.66.100 - SAAM-1985.66.100_1 - 8448
Copied George Catlin, La-dóo-ke-a, Buffalo Bull, a Grand Pawnee Warrior, 1832, oil on canvas, 2924 in. (73.760.9 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.100
Free to use

Artwork Details

La-dóo-ke‑a, Buffalo Bull, a Grand Pawnee Warrior
Not on view
2924 in. (73.760.9 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Object — weapon — bow and arrow
  • Indian — Pawnee
  • Portrait male — Buffalo Bull — full length
  • Dress — Indian dress
Object Number

Artwork Description

Described by George Catlin “as a warrior of great distinction,” Buffalo Bull appears “with his medicine or totem (the head of a buffalo) painted on his breast and his face, with bow and arrow in his hands.” This unfinished portrait provides a key to Catlin’s working methods in the West, where he had to work quickly. During Buffalo Bull’s sitting, Catlin focused on his face and his totem (the buffalo head painted on his chest, partially hidden behind a large peace medal). The artist usually finished bodies and costume details in an urban studio. (Catlin, Letters and Notes , vol. 2, no. 34, 1841, reprint 1973; Gurney and Heyman, eds., George Catlin and His Indian Gallery , 2002)