Captured Spirits

Bi-wiidibamshin (come sit with me). Once again, many nations have gathered; Indian chiefs, dignitaries, forefathers, ancestors, and orators.

collage

"CAPTURED SPIRITS" is a rare, complete set of 120 digital copies not seen in one place since the original Charles Bird Kings' Indian Portraits collection was on display at the Smithsonian Institution, 1858-1865.

In the early 1800's the only way to capture an image was through original art, such as a sketch or painting. Thomas L. McKenney, superintendent of Indian Affairs, commissioned artists like Charles Bird King and James Otto Lewis to capture the spirit of the visiting dignitaries in their native regalia. Between 1821 and 1837, 120 Indian portraits were produced depicting visitors to Washington D.C., Philadelphia or an Indian council. The original paintings were on display in the Smithsonian Institute. Tragically, the original portrait collection destroyed by fire. However, they had been reproduced as hand-colored lithographs for a book that was to be published in 1837.