George de Forest Brush said: “In choosing Indians as a subject for art, I do not paint from the historian’s or the antiquary’s point of view. …Therefore, I hesitate to attempt to add any interest to my pictures by supplying historical facts. If I were required to resort to this in order to bring out the poetry, I would drop the subject at once.”

Prior to completing The Indian and the Lily, Brush had been in Florida visiting the Apaches imprisoned at St. Augustine. No evidence of the terrible conditions there appears in this painting. Instead, the scene is set in an ideal world—a place of peace, quiet, and untouched nature. Poetry, Brush seems to say, can only be found in a picturesque place apart from civilization.


  • Title: The Indian and the Lily
  • Creator: George de Forest Brush
  • Date Created: 1887
  • Physical Dimensions: 21 x 20 in. (53.3 x 50.8 cm)
  • Provenance: acquired from the Artist by Charles Shipman, Jersey City, NJ, 1888; C.D. Miller, Jersey City, NJ, by May 1893; Irving M. Scott [1837-1899], San Francisco, CA, by 1897; (American Art Galleries, Mendelssohn Hall, New York, NY), The Valuable Collection of Old and Modern Masters, Formed by the late Irving M. Scott of San Francisco, February 9, 1906; purchased for $4,000 by (Arthur Tooth & Sons, New York, NY); George Woodward [1863-1952], Philadelphia, PA, by November 1906; (William Macbeth Galleries, New York, NY); Mr. and Mrs. Carll Tucker, New York, NY; (Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, NY); purchased by Pierre Bergé [b. 1930], New York, NY, by 1985; to (Sotheby's, New York, NY), December 1, 2004, lot 136; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2004
  • Subject Keywords: figures, men, water lily
  • Rights: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.
  • External Link: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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