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Stu-mick-o-súcks, Buffalo Bull's Back Fat, Head Chief, Blood Tribe

1832 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 29 x 24 in. (73.7 x 60.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.149 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, South Wing


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This magnificent portrait was painted at Fort Union “from the free and vivid realities of life” rather than “the haggard deformities and distortions of disease and death” that George Catlin noted among frontier Indians. Buffalo Bull’s Back Fat (named after a prized cut of bison) was a chief of the Blackfoot, a tribe of the northernmost Plains whose territory straddled the present-day border between the United States and Canada. Catlin considered the people of the northern Plains the least corrupted by white contact, and he helped establish their image as nature’s noble people in Europe as well as America. This commanding portrait, for example, was exhibited to favorable notice in the Paris Salon of 1846. (Gurney and Heyman, eds., George Catlin and His Indian Gallery, 2002)

Keywords

Dress - ethnic - Indian dress

Ethnic - Indian - Blackfoot

Portrait male - Buffalo Bull's Back Fat - bust

Portrait male - Stu-mick-o-sucks - waist length

Recreation - leisure - smoking

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added

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