Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Indians on the Eel River

George Winter studied at the National Academy of Design in New York before deciding to travel west. From 1837 to 1839, he occupied himself making drawings and watercolors that recorded the disappearing way of life of the Potawatomi and Miami tribes in Indiana. These drawings provided source material for later oil paintings, such as Indians on the Eel River. Shortly after Winter’s arrival in Indiana, in summer 1838, the Wabash Potawatomi were forcibly removed to a Kansas reservation. Winter’s painting, featuring a dead tree, twilight atmosphere, and isolated river island, may thus be interpreted as an elegy for the Potawatomi nation.

George Winter
American, born England, 1810‒1876
Indians on the Eel River
ca. 1850
Oil on canvas
29 x 36 in. (73.7 x 91.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Morton and Marie Bradley Memorial Collection, 91.310