C.B.J.F. de Saint-Mémin, Osage Warrior II, black and white chalk, 1807, The New-York Historical Society
C.B.J.F. de Saint-Mémin, Osage Warrior II, watercolor on paper, 1807, The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Musuem, Winterthur, Delaware
C.B.J.F. de Saint-Mémin, Osage Warrior II (second version), watercolor on paper, 1807, private collection
E.G. Miles, "Saint-Mémin's Portraits of American Indians, 1804-1807," The American Art Journal, vol. XX, no. 4, pp. 2-32
E.G. Miles, Saint-Mémin and the Neoclassical Profile Portrait in America, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1994, pp. 142-158
Between 1804 and 1807 Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin executed a series of charcoal drawings and watercolors of eight American Indians that visited Washington, D.C. as a result of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. These drawings are among the earliest and most accurate pre-photographic images of Native Americans.
The visit of the Indian delegation to Washington is well documented in various period sources, including the speeches of President Thomas Jefferson as well as many personal and newspaper accounts. Residents of Washington who saw the Indians noted their striking appearance, which was enhanced by elaborate headdresses and body paint such as those seen in Osage Warrior II.
The current example was most likely executed after Saint-Mémin's watercolor now in the collection of the Winterthur Museum. Existing correspondence from the period reveals that Saint-Mémin enjoyed the assistance of associates and students for his portrait enterprise, and Osage Warrior II was possibly executed under his supervision. The watermark of the paper used for Osage Warrior II indicates that the sheet was most likely manufactured by T. Gilpin and Co., a papermill near Wilmington, Delaware that began producing paper around 1806.