One of the most iconic pieces in The Buffalo History Museum’s collection – a masterwork from a nationally significant artist – is back on display inside the Museum for the first time in over a decade.
In 1868, artist John Mix Stanley completed his monumental canvas, The Trial of Red Jacket. The 9-by-6 foot oil painting features seventy-four figures at the Buffalo Creek Reservation. At the center is Seneca orator Sagoyewatha, also known as Red Jacket, who is shown defending himself against charges of witchcraft. In this exhibit, guests will discover the story behind the painting, its subjects, and its artist. Co-curated by Dr. Joe Stahlman, the display will also provide historic context for the Buffalo Creek Reservation during the early nineteenth century.
Stanley, who grew up in Western New York, began the painting while living in Buffalo in 1863. To create the scene, he drew on an account of the dramatic incident relayed by New York politician DeWitt Clinton to the New York Historical Society in 1811. The painting was first showcased in Buffalo at Blodgett’s Music Store back in 1869, and initially displayed at the Buffalo Historical Society in 1904. In 1948, the Buffalo Historical Society purchased the painting from the artist’s heirs. It was last on display inside the Museum back in 2010 and spent some of the last decade on loan to three institutions nationwide: the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Gilcrease Museum, and the Tacoma Art Museum.
This exhibit was made possible with support from:
The First Niagara Foundation
William & Maureen O’Donnell