Ki On Twog Ky (also known as Cornplanter ) (1732/40-1836)

Object Number: 
Oil on canvas
Canvas: 30 x 25 in. ( 76.2 x 63.5 cm )Frame: 44 3/4 x 39 15/16 x 5 in. (113.7 x 101.4 x 12.7 cm)
signed and dated: at right: "F. Bartoli. / New York. / 1796"

Bust-length portrait of a ranking Native American chief of the Seneca tribe wearing a silver medal around his neck, a pair of silver armbands, a plumed headdress, nose and ear rings, and a scarlet shroud around his shoulders. He holds across his chest, in his right hand, a smoking pipe, adorned with feathers.

Gallery Label: 

The portrait commemorates Cornplanter's May 1786 meeting with the U.S. Congress in New York, which signaled the establishment of peaceful relations between the Seneca chief and the young republic. He wears the regalia presented to him by the "Council of the Thirteen Fires." In addition to bestowing these gifts, Congress gave Cornplanter assurances that both the British and Americans wanted peace with the Native Americans and would respect the boundaries of land assigned to them by treaty. According to documented genealogy on the Abeel family presented by Louise Williamson Brooks, a family descendent, Cornplanter was born around 1742, one of eight children of Johannes (John) Abeel (baptized April 8, 1722) and the Indian princess Aliquipiso of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Tribe, whom he met as a fur trader among the Six Nations. Cornplanter died in 1836 on Cornplanter Island in the Allegheny River.


Wettenkampf, Frank, "How Indians were Pictured in Earlier Days," The New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 33, no. 4, October 1949, p. 217. Catalogue of American Portraits in The New-York Historical Society, New Haven: Yale University Press, Vol. I, 1974, p. 427. Ledes, Allison Eckhardt Ledes, "Current and coming," The Magazine Antiques, January 2005, p. 16.

Credit Line: 
Gift of Thomas Jefferson Bryan
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group