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Overview

During the mid-19th century, George Catlin created two large collections of paintings featuring Indian portraits, genre scenes, and western landscapes. The first collection, which he called his "Indian Gallery," included more than 500 works completed during the 1830s. Most of the surviving paintings from this group are now at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. During the 1850s and 1860s, Catlin created a second collection, numbering more than 600 works, which he called his "Cartoon Collection." The surviving works from this collection were acquired by the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1912. Paul Mellon purchased more than 300 paintings from the Cartoon Collection when they were deaccessioned. In 1965, he gave 351 works from this collection to the National Gallery of Art.  

When Catlin exhibited the Cartoon Collection in New York in 1871, he published a catalog listing all the works. The catalog entries often included additional information about the subject of each painting. Catlin's catalog entry for this painting follows.   

 

Cart. No. 27.     Crow. 

a. -- Pa-ris-ka-róo-pa (The Two Crows); head chief of the tribe, in a splendid costume; his long hair descends to the ground, and his headdress the entire skin of a war eagle. 

b. -- Pa-ris-ka-róo-pa (The Younger); "wise man," and counsellor of the chief.

c. -- Cháh-ee-chopes (The Four Wolves); a chief distinguished, of the tribe.

d. -- Duhk-gíts-o-óh-see (The Red Bear); a celebrated warrior.

e. -- Ho-ra-tó-a (-----); a famous warrior.

f. -- Oo-je-en-áh-a (The Woman who Lives in the Bear’s Den); wife of the chief. 1832.

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
1964
Loan for display with permanent collection, Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming, 1964-1974.
1976
Extended loan for use by the Ambassador, U.S. Embassy residence, Kuwait, 1976-1979.
1989
A Gallery Revived: North American Indian Paintings by George Catlin, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming, 1989.
1990
North American Indian Paintings by George Catlin (NGA National Lending Service exhibition), Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, 1990-1991.
1992
North American Indian Paintings by George Catlin (NGA National Lending Service exhibition), Palm Springs Desert Museum, 1992-1993.
1993
North American Indian Paintings by George Catlin (NGA National Lending Service exhibition), Boise Art Museum, Idaho, 1993.
1994
North American Indian Paintings by George Catlin (NGA National Lending Service exhibition), Hofstra Museum, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, 1994.
1994
North American Indian Paintings by George Catlin (NGA National Lending Service exhibition), West Bend Gallery of Fine Arts, Wisconsin, 1994.
1995
North American Indian Paintings by George Catlin (NGA National Lending Service exhibition), Lore Degenstein Gallery, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, 1995.
1995
North American Indian Paintings by George Catlin (NGA National Lending Service exhibition), Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1995, unnumbered brochure.
2002
Extended loan for use by President George W. Bush, White House, Washington, D.C., 2002-2008.
Bibliography
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 27.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 57, repro.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 60, repro.