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The "Devil's Gate"

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. "The traveller on his way to the South pass of the Rocky Mountains encounters this singular scene, about 5 miles beyone Independence Rock, where the Sweet Water has forced its way through a granite ridge. Col. Frémont, who seems to have measured it, thus decribed it.- 'The length of the passage is about 300 yards, and the width 35 yards. The walls of rock are verticle, and about 400 feet in height; and the stream in the gate is almost entirely choked up by masses which have fallen from above. In the wall on the right back is a dike of trap rock, cutting though a fine grey granite; near the point of the ridge crop out some Starta of the valley formation, consisting of a greyish sandstone and fine grey conglomerate and marl.' The sketch however will convey a better idea of the scene than any written description can possibly accomplish." 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
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: Maryland and the West. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Washington College, Chestertown; Frostburg State University, Frostburg; Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, Rockville. 1988.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860, by commission; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signature] Lower right
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 10 7/8 x W: 9 3/16 in. (27.6 x 23.4 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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