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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. "This scene represents an Arapaho Indian en famille, smoking his pipe and reposing under a blanket suspended from the branches of a tree, to screen them from the sun. We saw some fine speciments of this tribe. They do not shave their heads like the Sioux, but braid the centre or scalp lock with ribbons or feathers of the 'War Eagle.' We noticed also a difference in their moccasins, the fronts extending only to the instep and wanting the side flaps. Indians are capable of designating a tribe very often by merely having the moccasins. The Arapahos were tall, finely formed men, from 5 ft. 8 in. to 6 ft. in height. In setting out on their war parties, the process of painting, dressing, and adorning themselves occupies considerably of their time and attention. When a party is seen scouring over the prairies under thes circumstances it bodes no good to theose they happen to encounter. As regards their steeds, they have no geldings & we saw none, except those brought from the States. The animal thus preserves all his game spirit & is capable of great endurance. They partake somewhat of the Arabian breed." 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
5/03/1978Treatmentcleaned; rehoused
  • People of the Plains, 1820-1850. University of Minnesota, University Art Gallery, Minneapolis. 1978.
  • 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 center: AJMiller
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
8 15/16 x 12 3/16 in. (22.7 x 30.9 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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