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. "At rare intervals females take the field in pursuit of game or catching horses. They are not well adapted to this service, but either through a frolic or at the command of that inexorable mother necessity, she tries her hand. The saddle on which she rides is so constructed that she cannot readily fall, it is a high demipique, the pommel being near two feet high, to this, she fastens one end of the 'lariat,'- the other end is coiled with the noose in her hand. The sketch represents her in the act of throwing the lariat, and from inexperience, she makes severl ineffectual throws, before the intention is accomplished. The fact of her requiring a saddle, however, fixes on her an indelible disgrace in the eyes of the male Indian,- who regards such effeminacy with contempt." 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: 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.
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860
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