Om-pah-tón-ga, Big Elk, a Famous Warrior

  • George Catlin, Om-pah-tón-ga, Big Elk, a Famous Warrior, 1832, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.114

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A warrior of the Omaha tribe, Big Elk sat for his portrait, according to George Catlin, “with his tomahawk in his hand, and face painted black, for war.” Catlin probably painted this image at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) in 1832. Big Elk also sat for artist Charles Bird King (1785-1862) some years earlier in Washington. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 34, 1841; reprint 1973)

Title
Om-pah-tón-ga, Big Elk, a Famous Warrior
Artists
Date
1832
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
Classifications
Keywords
  • Dress – accessory – jewelry
  • Ethnic – Indian – Omaha
  • Dress – ethnic – Indian dress
  • Object – weapon – axe
  • Portrait male – Big Elk – full length
Object Number
1985.66.114
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI