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William Fisk, 1796 - 8 Nov 1872
George Catlin, 26 Jul 1796 - 23 Dec 1872
Oil on canvas
Frame: 158.8 x 133.4 x 7cm (62 1/2 x 52 1/2 x 2 3/4")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the Smithsonian American Art Museum; gift of Miss May C. Kinney, Ernest C. Kinney and Bradford Wickes, 1945
Restrictions & Rights
For six years beginning in 1830, George Catlin traveled the American plains to paint portraits of Indian leaders and make sketches of tribal life. The pictorial record of his travels numbers around five hundred paintings and constitutes a remarkable archive of the American Indian. Hoping that his collection would become the nucleus of a national museum, the artist exhibited his paintings in many eastern cities. After Congress proved indifferent, Catlin in 1839 took his Indian gallery to Europe.
British artist William Fisk painted Catlin when his gallery was on exhibition in London. He has shown Catlin with two Blackfoot Indians, The Woman Who Strikes Many and Iron Horn, images based on paintings by Catlin. Debts forced the artist to sell most of his collection in 1852; the largest portion now belongs to the Smithsonian Institution.
Loaned to National Museum by Louise Catlin Kinney and her sister Miss Catlin, 1904; gift 1945 from her children Mary C. Kinney,Ernest C. Kinney, and Bradford Wickers; transferred 1970 to NPG.