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Henry H. Cross

Birth place or City of origin: Farmingville
State of origin: NY
Last known City: Chicago
Last known State: IL
Start/Birth date: 1837
Death/End date: 1918

Born in Flemingville, NY in 1837, Henry Cross was a perpetually adventurous person who, as a teen-ager, ran away several times to join a circus and then at age sixteen, traveled to Paris where he studied with animal painter Rosa Bonheur. Returning to the United States, he earned his living painting animals on the sides of circus wagons while traveling West with P T Barnum. In 1862 he moved to Minnesota during the Sioux uprising with the intent of painting the Indians President Abraham Lincoln had sentenced to death for the massacre of white settlers. During this period, he learned to speak the Sioux language, and Buffalo Bill Cody referred to him as "the greatest painter of Indian portraiture of all times." His experiences during this time stimulated his interest in Western themes and he returned to California during 1864-65 to paint the horses of Lucky Baldwin. Cross became renowned for his portraits of Kit Carson, Wild Bill Hickok, Sitting Bull, Sioux Chief Red Cloud and other famous westerners. In the late 1880s, he began to paint Indian ceremonies and in the 1890s, visited Hopi pueblos in Arizona and painted the Snake Dance. Cross left a rich legacy of portrayals of Indian genre and their interaction with white military civilization. He later settled in Chicago and died there on April 2, 1918.


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