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The Bravado
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The Bravado

Description Conservation 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 Buffalo has been wounded in the flank,- he is not disabled, not at all desirous of giving up the contest,- on the contrary he is ripe for mischief,- full of rage, and is making savage onslaughts on his enemies who are on their part tantalizing him in every manner with feints, mock attackes, and general bagatelle, - retreating as he gives battle, and barely escaping some of his awkward plunges. One has apporached and flung a lasso, with the intention of throwing him down;- they keep up this "fun" until the poor creature is nearly exhausted, and then dispatch him. It is this pluck on the part of the Buffalo that commands the admiration of the savage;- he will fight until he cannot stand on his feet. A flank tending to bring out all his energies & game qualities." 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
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
H: 9 1/2 x W: 15 1/8 in. (24.1 x 38.4 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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