La-wáh-he-coots-la-sháw-no, Brave Chief, a Skidi (Wolf) Pawnee

Media - 1985.66.110 - SAAM-1985.66.110_1 - 8466
Copied George Catlin, La-wáh-he-coots-la-sháw-no, Brave Chief, a Skidi (Wolf) Pawnee, 1832, oil on canvas, 2924 in. (73.760.9 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.110
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Artwork Details

Title
La-wáh-he-coots-la-sháw-no, Brave Chief, a Skidi (Wolf) Pawnee
Date
1832
Location
Not on view
Dimensions
2924 in. (73.760.9 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Indian — Pawnee
  • Portrait male — Brave Chief
Object Number
1985.66.110

Artwork Description

“A very powerful and warlike nation, living on the river Platte, about one hundred miles from its junction with the Missouri; laying claim to, and exercising sway over, the whole country, from its mouth to the base of the Rocky Mountains. The present number of this tribe is ten or twelve thousand; about one half the number they had in 1832, when that most appalling disease, the small-pox, was accidentally introduced amongst them by the Fur Traders, and whiskey sellers; when ten thousand (or more) of them perished in the course of a few months . . . The Pawnees have ever been looked upon, as a very warlike and hostile tribe; and unusually so, since the calamity which I have mentioned.” George Catlin went on to describe Brave Chief as having “impressions of hands painted on his breast.” The artist probably painted this portrait at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) in 1832. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 34, 1841, reprint 1973; Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979)