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. "In the progress of our journey we took especial care to see as much as possible of the Indian in his domestic life. In making such visits our men carried their rifles, as an Indian's respect for you is increased thereby, and indeed your safety depends often upon it. Whenever we found friendly Indians encamped, the inevitable pipe was brought forward and passed around, each taking two or three whiffs,- this not only proclaims good will towards you. As they are perfectly free from care and responsibilities of all kinds, it is not wonderful that Trappers and travellers soon begin to have sympathy and fondness for their mode of life." 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.
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860
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