Lot 137
  • 137

* Charles Bird King 1785-1862

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  • Charles Bird King
  • Ottoe Half Chief, Husband of Eagle of Delight
  • inscribed Ottoe Half Chief/ Husband of Eagle of Delight/ by C.B. King/ no. 2 on the reverse
  • oil on panel


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


New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, The American Experience, 1976, no. 21, illustrated


cf. Thomas E. McKenney and James B. Hall, The Indian Tribes of North America, vol. I, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1933, p. 156
cf. John C. Ewers, Artists of the Old West, New York, 1965, illustrated in color p. 43
Herman J. Viola, The Indian Legacy of Charles Bird King, Washington, D.C., 1976, p. 141, illustration in color of another example p. 37 [as Shaumonekusse, (Prairie Wolf), Oto]
Andrew F. Cosentino, The Paintings of Charles Bird King (1785-1862), Washington, D.C., 1978, no. 447, p. 182, illustrated (as Shaumonekusse)
Amy Fine Collins, "A Parisian Discovers America: Pierre Bergé of Yves Saint Laurent Salutes the Nineteenth Century and the West in his Manhattan Pied-à-Terre," House & Garden, November 1991, pp. 142-49, 222, illustrated in color p. 147
cf. David C. Hunt, Legacy of the West, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, illustration in color of another example p. 12

Catalogue Note

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.