During the 1830s, traveling with fur company representatives, cavalry officers, and later alone on multiple western journeys, George Catlin gathered drawings, sketches, and notes that would allow him to create an “Indian Gallery”—a collection of more than 500 paintings of American Indians. By the end of the decade, he would be widely recognized as the most celebrated painter of America’s native people. Catlin painted this portrait of White Cloud when the chief and a small party of Iowa joined the artist in France to promote a European tour of his “Indian Gallery.” The tour included a stop in Paris, where the Iowa performed before King Louis Philippe.


  • Title: The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas
  • Creator: George Catlin
  • Date Created: 1844/1845
  • Physical Dimensions: overall: 71 x 58 cm (27 15/16 x 22 13/16 in.)
  • Provenance: George Catlin [1796-1872]; by descent to his daughters, Clara Gregory Catlin, Louise Catlin Kinney, and Elizabeth Wing Catlin; purchased 1912 from Elizabeth Wing Catlin by the American Museum of Natural History; sold 1959 through (Kennedy Galleries, New York) to Mr. Paul Mellon, Upperville, VA; gift 1965 to the NGA.
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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