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Overview

During the 1830s, traveling with fur company representatives, cavalry officers, and later alone on multiple western journeys, George Catlin gathered drawings, sketches, and notes that would allow him to create an “Indian Gallery”—a collection of more than 500 paintings of American Indians. By the end of the decade, he would be widely recognized as the most celebrated painter of America’s native people. Catlin painted this portrait of White Cloud when the chief and a small party of Iowa joined the artist in France to promote a European tour of his “Indian Gallery.” The tour included a stop in Paris, where the Iowa performed before King Louis Philippe.

Provenance

George Catlin [1796-1872]; by descent to his daughters, Clara Gregory Catlin, Louise Catlin Kinney, and Elizabeth Wing Catlin; purchased 1912 from Elizabeth Wing Catlin by the American Museum of Natural History; sold 1959 through (Kennedy Galleries, New York) to Mr. Paul Mellon, Upperville, VA; gift 1965 to the NGA.

Exhibition History
1965
Loan for display with permanent collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1965-1966 (loan to Three Centuries exhibition was extended).
1965
Three Centuries of American Painting, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1965.
1972
The American West: Painters from Catlin to Russell, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco; The St. Louis Art Museum, 1972, no. 19.
1980
American Indian Life: Paintings by George Catlin, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980.
1981
George Catlin, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, 1981-1982.
1986
America: Art and the West, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1986-1987, no. 4, repro.
1999
America: The New World in 19th-Century Painting, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, 1999, no. 56, repro.
2007
Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation, National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Shanghai Museum; The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow; Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, 2007-2008, unnumbered catalogue, repro.
Bibliography
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 27, repro. 25.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 124, repro.
1980
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980: no. 18, color repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 548, no. 829, color repro.
1988
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. Rev. ed. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988: 84, no. 19, color repro.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 105, repro.
1998
Fiero, Gloria K. The Humanistic Tradition: Romanticism, Realism, and the Nineteenth-Century World. Madison, 1998, no. 27.15, repro.
2002
Gurney, George, and Therese Thau Heyman, eds. George Catlin and His Indian Gallery. Exh. cat. Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., 2002-2003. Washington, D.C., 2002: 70, 71 fig. 9.