Maker and role
Artist: George L. K. Morris, American, 1905-1975
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Object detail

Oil on canvas
25 1/2 x 19 1/4in (64.8 x 48.9cm)
Credit line
Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin
Accession number
Object type
Further information
George L. K. Morris believed that a nation’s art should be rooted in its history. To create what he called an “American mode of abstraction,” Morris turned to Native American motifs for inspiration. This painting, with its sharp angles, simplified forms, and flat planes of color, depicts Pocahontas (1596–1617), the Powhatan woman mythologized as the savior of the English colonists at the historic site of Jamestown in east Virginia. Early propaganda aimed at expanding colonization of Virginia described Pocahontas as a “Christianized savage.” Pocahontas married an Englishman and wore Jacobean garb as can be seen in the engraving by Simon de Passe reproduced below, yet Morris depicts her as a nude hunter with a bow and arrow.
Modern Art at the McNay: A Brief History and Pictorial Survey of the Collection; William J. Chiego; 2001; p. 174
The Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity, 1915-1935; Wanda Corn, Patricia McDonnell; 2005
Signature & date
Signed l.r.: GLKM; Dated, l.l.: 1932
Subject period


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