Peter Quivey (ca. 1807–1869) was a California pioneer who briefly joined the Donner Party (1846), which reportedly resorted to cannibalism when snowbound in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Fortunately, Quivey continued safely ahead to California, where he fought in the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), before settling in San Jose. Quivey's fringed buckskin coat and pants recall the trademark clothes of American frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone and David Crockett, and he holds a Bowie knife and a Colt revolver, weapons that played key roles in settling the American West. Quivey's role as a mediator between the frontier and civilization is emphasized by the contrast between the primitive knife and the sophisticated revolver, and between the wild mountain lion and the trained hunting dog. Quivey's two identities—as a frontiersman and as an art patron—reveal the competing social and cultural agendas that coexisted in Gold Rush California.


  • Title: Peter Quivey and the Mountain Lion
  • Creator: Charles Christian Nahl
  • Creator Lifespan: 1818 - 1878
  • Creator Nationality: American
  • Creator Gender: male
  • Creator Death Place: San Francisco, CA
  • Creator Birth Place: Kassel, Germany
  • Date Created: 1857
  • Location: United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 26 x 34 in. (66 x 86.4 cm)
  • Rights: FAMSF museum purchase, James E. Harrold, Jr. Bequest Fund, and gift of Carol W. Casey, 1998.32
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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