Picturing the American Buffalo: George Catlin and Modern Native American Artists

October 11, 2019 – April 12, 2020

Buffalo Bull, Grazing on the Prairie by George Catlin, 1832–1833

Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and F Streets, NW
Washington, DC

Floor Plan

In the nineteenth century, American bison (commonly called the buffalo) thundered across the Great Plains of the American West in the millions. They symbolized the abundance of the land, and for centuries played a vital role in the lives of Native Americans, providing sustenance and spiritual nourishment. Wild and majestic, revered and hunted, buffalo have long captured the popular imagination, and their iconic images figure prominently in America’s art.

Picturing the American Buffalo: George Catlin and Modern Native American Artists considers the representation of the American buffalo from two perspectives: a selection of paintings by George Catlin (1796–1872), and works by modern Native artists Woodrow Crumbo, Paul Flying Eagle Goodbear, Allan Houser, Julian Martinez, Fritz Scholder, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Awa Tsireh, Thomas Vigil, and Beatien Yazz.