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spacer Osceola, by Curtis
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Osceola
Robert John Curtis, oil painting, 1838.
The Charleston Museum, Charleston, South Carolina.
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Curtis was a local Charleston painter who never achieved national renown but whose portrait of Osceola won regional fame. Like Catlin's two paintings, Curtis's was the source for many derivative works. Curtis, Catlin, and William Laning were the three artists know to have painted Osceola from life.

Even though Curtis painted Osceola during the same period -- and even on the same exact days -- as Catlin, he produced a remarkably different image. Curtis' Osceola appears taller, less erect, and overall, softer. The chief looks more melancholy than in Catlin's version, more doleful and open, less proud and resigned. His ethnicity also seems subtly different. Osceola -- called Powell by many whites -- was well known to be a "half-caste," the son of an Englishman named William Powell who married among the Upper Creeks of Alabama. To some observers, Curtis's subject might look more English and white than Catlin's chief.

(1 of 9 images in this series)

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