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Mount Hood from The Dalles

Accession Number

Mount Hood from The Dalles

John Stanley

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

62 in x 96 ½ in (157.48 cm x 245.11 cm);62 in x 96 ½ in (157.48 cm x 245.11 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Edith Stanley Bayles and the late Mrs. Jane C. Stanley

Label copy
March 28, 2009
The beginning of westward migration and the California Gold Rush of 1849 together gave rise to a growing interest in the frontier. Like many nineteenth-century paintings, Mount Hood from the Dalles gave curious viewers a glimpse of this storied western landscape. Stanley, who was also a trained photographer, accompanied several expeditions to the Oregon territory. He painted this view of Mount Hood years later from memory with the aid of sketches and daguerreotypes made during his trips. Looming in the distance is the majestic Mount Hood; in the foreground is an encampment of Native Americans.
Stanley is probably best known for his serene, carefully observed representations of Native Americans, whether in the form of portraits or figures in panoramic landscapes like Mount Hood from the Dalles. His intentions in documenting Native American life were complex. At the same time that he assumed the persona of an anthropologist, keen on recording a threatened culture, he also created traveling shows and “Indian” panoramas that perpetuated stereotypes and catered to an audience largely supportive of policies that were causing the wholesale decimation of that culture. Whether intentionally or not, simply by showing Indians at one with the landscape, paintings like this one reinforced for viewers the idea that the United States was destined to “civilize” the country and its native inhabitants from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean.

Subject matter
Painted from The Dalles, an area known as the end of the Oregon Trail along the Columbia River, this view of Mount Hood, the surrounding Oregon landscape, and a Native American encampment is a composite picture, painted from memory with the aid of sketches and daguerreotypes.
Stanley was a largely self-taught artist who developed his style, reminiscent of the Hudson River School of painters, as a staff artist for expeditions to the West in the 1840 and 50s.

Physical Description
Landscape painting with white mountain peak in center background, body of water in foreground, and a Native American encampment to left.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

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Native American
water (inorganic material)

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