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Shoshonee [sic] Indians - Fording a River
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Shoshonee [sic] Indians - Fording a River

Description 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. 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. "A camp of Indians leaving an enemy in the rear,- journeying towards the river,- ford it,- continue their course along its banks for a time, and then recross. This stratagem is effected to baffle their pursuers,- throw them out,- and afford no clue to their whereabouts. A whole village moves off in this manner with short notice,- tents and lodges being packed on mules, while the poles are secured by the ends and trail on the ground. They have with them a goodly number of dogs, not only for active service,- but as a bonne bouche in a season of scarcity of provisions." 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 and the Western Indians. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2006.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860, by commission; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Monogram] Lower right: AJMiller
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
9 1/2 x 12 3/8 in. (24.1 x 31.4 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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