Olin Levi Warner (American, 18441896)
Bronze; Diam. 17 1/2 in. (44.5 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick S. Wait, 1906 (06.313)
Hinmahtoo-Yahlatkekht (Thunder rolling in the mountains), or Joseph (ca. 18401904), was a Nez Percé chief who is best remembered for the dignified and courageous leadership of his tribe during settlement disputes with the United States government during the 1870s. Warner's loyal friend and patron Charles Erskine Scott Wood first met Joseph in 1877. Wood arranged for Joseph to pose for Warner while both men were in Portland, Oregon, in the autumn of 1889. According to contemporary accounts, Joseph was an imposing figure, six feet tall and over 200 pounds. His impressive profile, facing left, reveals alert eyes, a hawklike nose, and fleshy skin that captures the subtleties of light and shadow. The quotation marks around "Joseph" and "Nez Percé" were probably included by Warner to signify that these were not given Indian names. Warner was fascinated with Native Americans throughout his career. In the early 1880s, he wrote, "I feel I might be doing a great thing for Art by using the Indians before they are extinct or ruined by civilization and thus confer an immense boon upon posterity and send my name down with my work."