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Henry H. Cross

"Cross was born in upstate New York in 1837 and got his early education there. His artistic talent, which manifested itself early, was first directed to the drawing of animals, and at least twice in his younger days he joined a traveling circus, presumably for the opportunity it would give him the observe animal life at close range. In 1853, when he was sicteen, he went to France for two years' study with Rosa Bonheur, from whom it is said he won high commendation.
Upon his return he traveled for three of four years with a circus, making many sketches of Indian life along the highways. In 1860 he moved to Chicago with his family and lost no time in visiting the Indian country of the midwest. He was in Minnesota in 1862, the year of the Sioux Outbreak, and make sketches of most of the participants, some before and some after the uprising. After a brief season in the East, during which he painted and decorated for P.T. Barnum the wagons he was assembling for his circus and menagerie, Cross agian headed for the west.
For many years he spent much of his time with the frontiersmen and Indians of the West and Southwest. He became intimately acquainted with Buffalo Bill and other scouts and guides, learned the Siouc tongew and the India sign language, and made a careful studey of the characteristics of various tribes he lived among.
His portraits and animal pictures were all made from life, and his reputation rests largely on the remarkable liknesses he achieved and the great fidelity with which he protrayed the characteristic features of the Indina dress and habitat. "His Indians," wrote Buffalo Bill Cody, "are not the tobacco sigen variety, but having been sketched from life by the greatest painter of Indian portraiture of all times, they are genuine, having the wild, stolid characteristics of the real Indian/ Having an acquaintance wth many of the indians and scouts sketched by Mr. Cross, I do not hesitate to pronouce his portraits not only good but striking likenesses."
Ultimately they came to the attention of Thomas B. Walker, who gave Cross commissions that occupied much of his time in the decade preceding his death in 1918."
From "The T.B. Walker Collection of Indian Portraits," 1948 pp. 9-10.