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Indian Council
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Indian Council

Description Conservation 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. "We had several opportunies while encamped at the Rendezvous on Green River (where some 3,000 Indians were met together) of attending their Councils. Old men generally officiated as speakers, while before them sat the sages and warriors, generally in squatting positions, interspersed with chiefs on horseback, every one as rigid as the statue of the Commendatore in 'Don Giovanni.' Each had his turn to harangue amid the most profound silence; and such sentences as were translated to me were short, pithy apothegms, mixed up with considerable boasting. 'Their enemies were cowards - serpents with forked tongues (parliamentary for liars), cheats, &c.' With a compliment to their own nation, - their wish to be at peace, and to bury the hatchet, one orator would conclude, and the next take the parole. History has preserved many eloquent speeches of the Indians,- the one taking precedence is that said to have been delivered to Lord Dunmore by Logan, a Shawanese Chief;- it will be found in 'Jefferson's notes on Virginia.'" 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
1/12/1981Examinationexamined for condition
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 9/16 x 12 5/8 in. (21.8 x 32 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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