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. "There Indians have placed themselves on a Bluff, for 2 purposes, - one to watch the horses and mules, to see they they do not stray beyond certain boundaries, - the other (still more important) is to give notice in case of the approach of hostile Indians. Horses to them are invaluable, and the first object of the invaders is to create a stampede amongst them. They sometimes hobble their animals, in order most effectually to prevent their running. The hobble is made of a band of strong leather and buckled around the forelegs, so that even in feeding they have to leap awkwardly in changing ground. These bluffs are admirable stations for sentinels, and command a vast distance over the prairie; besides, like sailors at sea, an Indian will descry an approaching horseman long before a white man can, without he has been a long time living amongst them." 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.
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: A JMiller; [Number] 18
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860
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