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"Bourgeois" W---r, and His Squaw

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Extracts from Alfred Jacob Miller’s original text, which accompanied his images of Native Americans, are included below for reference. These words, which shaped how Miller’s contemporaries viewed the watercolors, reveal the racism and sexism embedded in 19th-century exploration and colonization of the western part of what is today the United States. "The term 'Bourgeois' is given in the mountains to one who has a body of trappers placed under his immediate command. Capt. W----r, being trustworthy and intelligent, received an appointment of this kind, and with his men had many battles with the Indians.... The Sketch exhibits a certain etiquette. The Squaw's station in travelling is at a considerable distance in the rear of her liege lord, and never at the side of him. W----r had the kindness to present the writer a dozen pair of moccasins worked by this squaw - richly embroidered on the instep with colored porcupine quills." A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837). In July 1858 William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at twelve dollars apiece from Baltimore born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text, and were delivered in installments over the next twenty-one months and ultimately were bound in three albums. Transcriptions of field-sketches drawn during the 1837 expedition that Miller had undertaken to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (in what is now western Wyoming), these watercolors are a unique record of the closing years of the western fur trade.
Date Description Narrative
Treatmentcleaned; mounted; rehoused
2/13/1980Loan Considerationexamined for loan
  • Opening the Way West. Katonah Gallery, Katonah. 1981.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860, by commission; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Monogram] Lower right: AJMiller
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
9 5/16 x 11 11/16 in. (23.7 x 29.7 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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