Chief Lone Bear, Sioux Indian

In 1898 New York photographer Gertrude Käsebier (1852-1934) embarked on a deeply personal project, creating a set of prints that rank among the most compelling of her celebrated body of work. Käsebier was on the threshold of a career that would establish her as both the leading portraitist of her time and an extraordinary art photographer. Her new undertaking was inspired by viewing the grand parade of Buffalo Bill's Wild West troupe en route to Madison Square Garden for several weeks of performances.
Käsebier had spent her childhood on the Great Plains, and retained many vivid, happy memories of playing with nearby Native American children. She quickly sent a letter to William "Buffalo Bill" Cody (1846-1917), requesting permission to photograph Sioux Indians traveling with the show in her studio. Within weeks, Käsebier began a unique and special project photographing the Indian men, women, and children, formally and informally. Friendships developed, and her photography of these Native Americans continued for more than a decade.
Chief Lone Bear's family maintained a lasting friendship with Käsebier following the initial portrait session, visiting her whenever possible. His son, Sammy, and daughter, Mary, were also photographed. Chief Lone Bear's badge reads "Buffalo Bill's Police." The beaded embroidery above the vest badge is a flag pattern similar to the blanket held by Sammy and shown on others photographed within this group.
Currently not on view
Date made
ca 1898
Kasebier, Gertrude
Physical Description
platinum print (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 20 cm x 15.4 cm; 7 7/8 in x 6 1/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Mina Turner
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gertrude Kasebier
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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