We-chúsh-ta-dóo-ta, Red Man, a Distinguished Ball Player

Media - 1985.66.75 - SAAM-1985.66.75_2 - 136322
Copied George Catlin, We-chúsh-ta-dóo-ta, Red Man, a Distinguished Ball Player, 1835, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.75
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Artwork Details

Title
We-chúsh-ta-dóo-ta, Red Man, a Distinguished Ball Player
Date
1835
Dimensions
2924 in. (73.760.9 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Indian — Sioux
  • Indian — Dakota
  • Portrait male — Red Man
Object Number
1985.66.75

Artwork Description

George Catlin painted two portraits of Sioux Indians with “ball-sticks” in hand while at Fort Snelling, near the juncture of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. He described his subjects as “the two most distinguished ball-players in the Sioux tribe” who came to his studio “in the dress in which they had just struggled in the play.” This full-length portrait captures Red Man’s athleticism and reflects his status as a tribal champion. Catlin worried about the fate that he feared lay in store for these men. He wrote that “My heart has sometimes almost bled with pity for them, while amongst them, and witnessing their happy sports.” The artist was constantly reminded of “the inevitable bane that was rapidly advancing upon them.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 50, 1841, reprint 1973; Gurney and Heyman, eds., George Catlin and His Indian Gallery, 2002)