Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Joseph, Chief of the Nez Percé Indians

Artist:
Olin Levi Warner (American, West Suffield, Connecticut 1844–1896 New York)
Date:
1889; cast 1906
Medium:
Bronze
Dimensions:
Other (Object diameter): 17 1/2in. (44.5cm) Framed: 22 × 2 in., 16 lb. (55.9 × 5.1 cm, 7.3 kg)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick S. Wait, 1906
Accession Number:
06.313
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
Chief Joseph (ca. 1840–1904), also known as Hinmahtoo-yahlatkekht (“Thunder Rolling in the Mountains”), was hailed for his dignified leadership of the Nez Percé during settlement disputes with the United States government in the 1870s. Charles Erskine Scott Wood, Warner’s loyal patron, arranged for Joseph to pose for the sculptor in Portland, Oregon, in 1889. Warner had aspired to model Indian portraits since the early 1880s, a desire fulfilled on this trip and on another in 1891. Joseph’s impressive profile reveals alert eyes, a hawkish nose, and somewhat loose flesh that captures subtleties of light and shadow.
Signature: [lower center]: [cursive] Olin L. Warner / Sculptor / Portland Oregon / November 1889.

Inscription: [left]: "JOSEPH" / HIN-MAH-TOO-YAH-LAT-KEKHT; [right]: CHIEF OF THE / "NEZ PERCE" / INDIANS.

Marking: [lower right, stamped]: JNO WILLIAMS / FOUNDER / NY
Commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Frederick S. Wait for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1906
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