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Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable (Study for a Mural)

Dox Thrash, American, 1893 - 1965

Made in United States, North and Central America


Watercolor and ink over graphite on cream wove paper

Sheet: 12 3/16 x 10 inches (31 x 25.4 cm)

Research inconclusive. Copyright may apply.

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Margaret Chew Dolan, Peter Maxwell, and Ron Rumford in memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt, 2008

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This study shows Jean Baptiste Point du Sable (1745-1818), the founder of the city of Chicago, and depicts that city's evolving history in three separate bands. At the bottom is the earliest phase, represented by an eighteenth-century coach (at left) and a team of horses (at right). In the center is the nineteenth-century city, with a church steeple as the tallest structure (at right). At the top, the early-twentieth-century skyline is dominated by the tall buildings for which Chicago was already world famous.

Du Sable was born on the Caribbean island of Saint Domingue (now Haiti) to a French father and an African mother. After being educated in France, he returned to the New World and in 1779 established a permanent settlement at the mouth of the Chicago River (just east of the present Michigan Avenue Bridge, on the north bank of the river).