Seet-sé-be‑a, Midday Sun, a Pretty Girl

Media - 1985.66.175 - SAAM-1985.66.175_1 - 81480
Copied George Catlin, Seet-sé-be-a, Midday Sun, a Pretty Girl, 1832, oil on canvas, 2924 in. (73.760.9 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.175
Free to use

Artwork Details

Seet-sé-be‑a, Midday Sun, a Pretty Girl
2924 in. (73.760.9 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Portrait
  • Dress — Indian dress
  • Indian — Hidatsa
  • Portrait female — Midday Sun — full length
  • Architecture Exterior — domestic — hut
Object Number

Artwork Description

George Catlin explained that his model, a young Hidatsa woman, was “a descendent from the old chief . . . a fair sample of them, and dressed in beautiful costume of the mountain-sheep skin, handsomely garnished with porcupine quills and beads.” The young girl had repeatedly refused to let Catlin paint her portrait, claiming that she was not pretty enough for such an honor. But her relatives insisted that she sit for Catlin, who described her as “more than comely.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 23, 1841; reprint 1973)