Wán-ee-ton, Chief of the Tribe

Media - 1985.66.72 - SAAM-1985.66.72_1 - 8412
Copied George Catlin, Wán-ee-ton, Chief of the Tribe, 1832, oil on canvas, 2924 in. (73.760.9 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.72
Free to use

Artwork Details

Wán-ee-ton, Chief of the Tribe
Not on view
2924 in. (73.760.9 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Portrait
  • Indian — Dakota
  • Portrait male — Wan Ee Ton
Object Number

Artwork Description

In 1830, Catlin accompanied William Clark, of the celebrated Lewis and Clark expedition, up the Mississippi River from St. Louis to Fort Crawford. Two years later, he began the first of several journeys deep into the frontier, traveling up the Missouri River. At Fort Pierre, a fur-trading post situated in what is now South Dakota, he met Wán-ee-ton, chief of the Yanktonai Nakota tribe. Catlin considered him “one of the most noted and dignified, as well graceful chiefs of the Sioux tribe,” and went on to describe his portrait of the chief as “full-length, in a splendid dress; head-dress of war-eagle’s quills and ermine, and painted robe.” (Catlin, 1848 Catalogue, Catlin’s Indian Gallery, SAAM online exhibition)