George Catlin (American, 1796–1872),
Mandan Chief: Ma-To-Toh-Pah (Four Bears)
watercolor on board, 16 x 20 ¾ in.; 40.64 x 52.71 cm
Gift of W.F. Davidson, 1966.623
George Catlin declared that the sight of a group of Western tribesmen visiting Philadelphia inspired him to dedicate his life to the study of American Indians: “The history and customs of such a people, preserved by pictorial illustrations, are themes worthy of the life-time of one man.” Catlin made several trips West between 1830 and 1836, visiting tribes from the Comanche of the Southwest to the Mandan of North Dakota. By 1837 he had produced approximately 470 paintings. Many of these images he duplicated later for interested patrons. Four Bears was a Mandan warrior and religious leader.