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Yell of Triumph
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Yell of Triumph

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance 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 hunters have brought down the buffalo, Miller noted, "and one has mounted the back of the animal to join in an Indian yell and song;- partly as a species of requiem to the Buffalo for the game quality he has exhibited, but mainly as an act of self glorification for giving the "coup de grace" to the bull. "The Indian hunters in selecting a buffalo from the herd for themselves are generally much more influenced by the luxuriant coat of hair he wears, in reference to making a robe, than tenderness of beef for roasting purposes. The party here have secured an animal whose hide will make a first class robe. Placing him on his haunches in an upright position the conquerer is mounting the animal in full war dress and in his exultation sounds the key note for a 'Yell of Triumph' in which all join. No description can give an idea of this wild ear piercing manifestation, it is something unearthly serving at the same time as a boast for the visitors and requiem for the buffalo. "After tanning one side of the robe in which they are experts they often paint on it reminiscences of battle scenes in most brilliant colors, thereby commanding a premium at the agency of the Fur Company... In fact is is indispensable in many domestic purposes among themselves, clothing them in winter and forming the most comfortable couches for repose." 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
12/28/1976Treatmentmounted; re-housed
12/28/1976Examinationexamined for loan
9/25/1989Loan Considerationexamined for loan
6/01/1990Treatmentmounted; re-housed
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: An Artist on the Oregon Trail. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody. 1981-1982.
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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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
8 1/16 x 12 3/8 in. (20.5 x 31.5 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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