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Chiefs of the Indian Tribes of North America by Charles Bird King

Chiefs of the Indian Tribes of North America by Charles Bird King

ABOUT THIS COLLECTION  

The American portraitist Charles Bird King (1785-1862) was commissioned by Thomas McKenney, U.S. superintendent of Indian trade, to paint a series of portraits of Indian leaders who visited Washington, D.C. He painted more than 140 between 1821 and 1842.  In the early 1830s, McKenney also brought in the painter Henry Inman to make copies of many of King’s portraits, which served as the models for the spectacular lithographs published in the three-volume classic, “History of the Indian Tribes of North America” (1837), by McKenney and James Hall. Sixteen of those lithographs form the collection seen here. At the time, it was the most elaborate illustrated book ever produced in the U.S. Those reproductions saved the work for posterity. In 1865, a fire in the Smithsonian Institution destroyed all but a few of King’s portraits along with work by John Mix Stanley—a combined collection of 291 pre-Civil War Indian paintings were lost.

 

COLLECTION DETAILS

  • Series title: Chiefs of the Indian Tribes of North America
  • Series size: 16 artworks
  • Edition: Limited edition of 1000