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, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.175
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Artwork Details

Title
Seet-sé-be‑a, Midday Sun, a Pretty Girl
Date
1832
Dimensions
2924 in. (73.760.9 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Portrait female — Midday Sun — full length
  • Indian — Hidatsa
  • Dress — Indian dress
Object Number
1985.66.175

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)