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. One of the greatest events in the Plains Indians' life was the buffalo hunt. Few Indian women tried to conquer all the skills necessary for the buffalo hunt, and no wonder. Fascinated with buffalo, as were all artists who went west, Miller enumerated them all: "No sooner does she reach the animal than she must watch his every movement, keep an eye to her horse and guide him, must look out for rifts and Buffalo wallows on the prairie, guard against the animal's forming an angle and goring, manage bow and arrows, or lance, and while both are at full speed to wound him in a virtal part; to do all this requires great presence of mind, dexterity, and courage, and few women are found amongst them willing to undertake or capable of performing it." 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.
|9/25/1989||Loan Consideration||examined 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 [Monogram and Signature] Lower left: AJMiller
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860
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