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Presents to Indians
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Presents to Indians

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. Toward the end of the trappers' rendezvous, Captain Stewart (the Scottish nobleman), amid great ceremony, presented gifts to various chiefs, braves, and warriors who had performed some meritorious action or who had rendered personal services to Stewart or his group. These were "the 'elite,' the 'creme de la creme,'" said Miller. "They attached great importance to the matter, as it gives them a certain status with their people." Antoine, behind Stewart, is selecting Bowie knives and other gifts, which were also intended to ensure the friendship of a large group of Indians, because a hostile group of Blackfeet was rumored to be nearby. 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
11/11/1983Examinationexamined for condition
1/22/1990Loan Considerationexamined for loan
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: An Artist on the Oregon Trail. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody. 1981-1982.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860, by commission; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Number] Lower right: 51
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor heightened with white on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 11 1/16 x W: 9 7/16 in. (28.1 x 24 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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