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 government of a band of this kind is somewhat despotic, being composed of a heterogeneous mass of people from all sections, free and comp trappers, traders, half-breeds, and Indians. Our leader was admirably calculated for it, as he understood well the management of unruly spirits. He had served under Wellington in the Peninsular Campaigns, and at the battle of Waterloo,- indeed seemed to be in a measure composed of the same iron that formed "Great Duke" himself." 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.
- Alfred Jacob Miller: Watercolors and Drawings. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860, by commission; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860
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