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Indians on the War Path
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Indians on the War Path

Description 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. "When a tribe has a grievance either through loss of any of their men, or of depredations committed against them, the chiefs summon their young warriors, arm, dress, and paint themselves elaborately and set out on the war path. All this threatens mischief, and it is by no means a pleasant thing to meet them under such circumstances, unless you have an able escort. Revenge (one of the strongest passions of an Indian) is a powerful incentive, blinding their reason and exciting their savage appetite for blood." 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.
Provenance Commissioned by William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860; inherited by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Inscriptions [Monogram] Lower left: AJMiller; [Number] Lower left: 45 (?) 43(?)
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 8 1/8 x W: 12 3/4 in. (20.6 x 32.4 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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