Osceola was chief of the Seminoles during the Indian Wars of the 1830s. Treacherously imprisoned by the U.S. Army under a flag of truce, the 35-year-old warrior died of tuberculosis at Fort Moultrie within months. Osceola's valor and the circumstances of his last days made him a folk hero and an example of the United States' misguided policy toward the native population. Osceola's features reflect his mixed blood; his paternal grandfather was a Scotsman who married a Creek woman. In this later copy, Curtis idealized Osceola's features, giving them a distinctly European cast. His breastplates and beaded belt, contrasted with the cotton shawl and headwrap, underscore the uneasy mixture of Osceola's American Indian and European ancestry.


  • Title: Osceola - The Great Seminole Chief
  • Date Created: 1838
  • Physical Dimensions: Canvas dimensions: 30 × 25 1/4 in. (76.2 × 64.14 cm) Framed dimensions: 37 3/8 × 32 3/4 × 3 3/4 in. (94.93 × 83.19 × 9.53 cm)
  • Type: Paintings
  • External Link: https://www.dma.org/object/artwork/4280113/
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Credit Line: Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation
  • Artist Nationality: American
  • Artist: Robert John Curtis

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