James Graham & Sons, New York
Estate of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge [sold: Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, October 31, 1975, lot 65, illustrated in color (as Shaumonekusse, "Prairie Wolf," An Oto Chief)]
Schweitzer Gallery, New York
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1978
Shaumonekusse, the Ottoe Half Chief, was among the party of Indian chiefs brought to Washington in 1821. He had already risen to the position of second chief and soon thereafter became head chief, holding his rank until his death in a fight in 1837. His nickname among his own people, Ietan (Comanche), was a reference to his celebrated exploits against that powerful tribe. Thomas McKenney writes, "This individual is distinguished not only as a warrior but as a great hunter; and it is evident that he takes...pride in his exploits...from the manner in which his head was decorated with the spoils of the field when he sat for his portrait. The horns of the buffalo are worn with a triumph which renders it probable that a legend of more than ordinary daring is connected with the identical pair thus ostentatiously displayed, while the claws of the grisly bear, the fiercest and most powerful quadrupled of our continent, are suspended 'round his neck'" (The Indian Tribes of North America, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1933). He was known in Washington as 'emininently witty,' a quality which King sought to express in the several versions of this portrait which he painted. He was the only member of the delegation to be accompanied by his wife.
At least five versions of this portrait exist and are in the collections of The White House, Washington, D.C., the Danish National Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark, the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska and a private collection. The first version of this portrait was destroyed in the fire of 1865 at the Smithsonian Institite.
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