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Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant)

Artist
Unidentified Artist
Copy after
Ezra Ames, 1768 - 1836
Sitter
Thayendanegea, Mar 1743 - 24 Nov 1807
Date
early 19th Century, after 1806
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 76.8 x 64.1 x 3.8cm (30 1/4 x 25 1/4 x 1 1/2")
Frame: 93.3 x 80 x 6.4cm (36 3/4 x 31 1/2 x 2 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
NPG.97.58
Exhibition Label
Born Canajoharie, Mohawk Valley, New York
Mohawk Indian war chief Thayendanegea (who had converted to Christianity under the name of Joseph Brant), an English protégé and a colonel in the British army, was instrumental in persuading the Iroquois to take up arms against the American rebels. He was a chief organizer of Indian bands allied to the British, and his forces became the scourge of independence-minded settlers on the New York and Pennsylvania frontiers.
Resettled by the British in Canada after the Revolutionary War, Brant visited Albany in 1806, a rich man dressed in white man's clothing. At the request of a former Loyalist comrade-in-arms, he agreed to sit for his portrait, but only after makeshift Native attire was rounded up. He thought it "a compromise of his dignity to be painted in his civilized garb."
Provenance
(Gerald Peters Gallery, New York); purchased 1997 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection