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Sitting Bull portrait to be auctioned

Portrait of Sitting Bull, 1890, by Caroline Weldon. Oil on canvas. This painting from life, thought to be lost, will be offered at Blackwell Auctions (Florida) in March. The artist’s relationship with the Lakota leader was the subject of a 2017 movie.

A portrait of the 19th century Lakota chief Sitting Bull, painted by New York artist Caroline Weldon around 1890, is scheduled to be auctioned March 18 by Blackwell Auctions in Clearwater.

Sitting Bull (1831-1890) was the military, spiritual and political leader who led the Sioux to victory over U.S. Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry in the battle of Little Big Horn in 1876.

The oil on canvas is one of only four paintings Weldon made of the Native American leader while she served as his personal secretary and confidante from 1889-1890. Two of the paintings are in the North Dakota Historical Society in Bismarck and the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock. A third painting remains lost, but this one is owned by a descendant of its original owner, a railroad construction engineer from Minnesota.

“The cultural significance of this piece can hardly be overstated,” Edwin Bailey, of Blackwell Auctions, said in a statement. “The painting represents at once the poignant intersection of two marginalized groups – the Indigenous peoples of America and women artists.”

The March auction, titled The American Sale, will also feature a collection of historical documents from 1650 to the mid-20th century. Pieces include items signed by Abraham Lincoln, William Henry Harrison, Mark Twain, Robert. E. Lee, Charles Lindbergh and more than 50 other significant military and political figures.
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