Le-sháw-loo-láh-le-hoo, Big Elk, Chief of the Skidi (Wolf) Pawnee

  • George Catlin, Le-sháw-loo-láh-le-hoo, Big Elk, Chief of the Skidi (Wolf) Pawnee, 1832, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.108

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George Catlin probably painted these images of Pawnee chiefs and warriors at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) in 1832. He later described the tribe as: “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.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 34, 1841; reprint 1973)

Title
Le-sháw-loo-láh-le-hoo, Big Elk, Chief of the Skidi (Wolf) Pawnee
Artist
Date
1832
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
29 x 24 in. (73.7 x 60.9 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Portrait male – Big Elk
  • Ethnic – Indian – Pawnee
Object Number
1985.66.108
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI