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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. 68.     Seminólee.

a. -- Os-ce-ó-la (The Black Drink); a celebrated warrior, half caste, who took the lead in the Seminolee war.

 

b. -- -----.

c. -- -----; two Seminolee women, wives of Osceola.

 

d. -- Mick-e-nó-pa (-----); head chief of the Seminolees.

e. -- How-e-dá-hee (-----); a Seminolee woman, wife of the chief.

A tribe of 3,000, lately removed from Florida to the Upper Arkansaw, after a destructive war with the United States Government for several years. 1838.

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
1967
Catlin, Bodmer, Miller: Artist Explorers of the 1830's, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, 1967-1974.
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.
1991
Loan for display with permanent collection, Etowah Mounds State Historic Site, Cartersville, Georgia, 1991-1992.
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.
2012
Reflections across time: Seminole Portraits, The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Clewiston; The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, Miami, 2012-2013, no. 9, repro. (shown only in Miami).
Bibliography
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 31.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 93, repro.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 82, repro.