Osages, Peuplade Sauvage de l’Amerique Septentrionale

boillyFrançois Séraphin Delpech (1778-1825), after drawings by Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761-1845), Osages: peuplade sauvage de l’Amerique Septentrionale dans l’Etat de Missouri [Osages: Primitive Tribes of North America, in the State of Missouri]. 1827. From the series Recueil de Grimaces, no. 89. Lithograph with added hand color. Joint acquisition of the Graphic Arts Collection and Western Americana. GAX 2016 in process.

Between 1823 and 1828, Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761-1845) and his lithographer François Séraphin Delpech (1778-1825) created a series of genre portraits or caricatures of occupations under the title Recueil de Grimaces or Les Grimaces. The Getty Research Institute holds one copy of the portfolio with eight prints and the National Library of France holds another with 93 prints in 5 volumes. It is unclear whether there was one definitive set. The prints could be purchased together or separate, colored or uncolored.

Each sheet usually presents a cluster of three to five heads. Boilly was somewhat unique in caricaturing a whole profession, not an individual, targeting groups of writers, doctors, art critics, etc. However, as the series continued, the faces became less grotesque and more descriptive.

Numbers 89, 90, and possibly 91 in the series represent members of the Osages Tribe from the Ohio River Valley in Arkansas and Missouri, who traveled to France in 1827. No. 89, recently acquired jointly by the Graphic Arts Collection and the Western Americana Collection, depicts Kishagashugah or Little Chief (age 28), Minckchatahooh or Little Soldier (age 22), and Grétomih (age 18 and cousin to Kishagashugah’s wife). No.90, available at the Beinecke Library, presents Mohongo (Sacred Sun, ca. 1789–1836), Washingsabba (Black Bird, 1795–1829?), and Big Soldier (1773?–1844).

11142694_quarter(c) Beinecke Library

See also Marie-Claude Feltes-Strigler, Les indiens Osages: Enfants-des-eaux-du-milieu (Paris: O.D. éditions-Indiens de tous pays, [2016]) Firestone Library (F) E99.O8 F45 2016

Louis F. Burns, A history of the Osage people (Tuscaloosa; London: University of Alabama Press, 2004). Firestone Library (F) E99.O7 B85 2004