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Wild Scenery (Making a Cache)
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Wild Scenery (Making a Cache)

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. 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 scene represented is a gorge in the vicinity of the Rocky Mountains, at the bottom the water is coming down in cascades caused by the melting snows above and forms one of the numerous feeders to the mighty Missouri. The defile is comparatively so narrow that the sun only penetrates it at mid-day. To the left, under some wild cliffs, Trappers are building a cache, out-of-the-way and secluded places are selected for this purpose in order to escape the eyes of prying Indians. If the gound has a sod, it is carefully cut and placed to one side, a hole is then dug of sufficient capacity to contain all such articles as are to be deposited." 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
4/06/1966Treatmentcleaned; mounted
4/06/1966Treatmentmounted; other
3/02/1982Loan Considerationexamined for loan
3/01/1983Treatmentmounted; re-housed
10/01/1991Treatmentmounted; re-housed
  • The Rocky Mountains: A Vision for Artists in the Nineteenth Century. Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody. 1983.
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: Watercolors and Drawings. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
  • 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 center: Miller
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 9 1/4 x W: 12 13/16 in. (23.5 x 32.5 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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