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Breakfast at Sunrise
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Breakfast at Sunrise

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 sketch represents 'our mess' at the morning meal;- Jean whi is pouring out coffee, seems to our hungry eyes more graceful than Hebe disposing Nectar, although he is more shapeless than a log of wood. The plate service of the table is of capital tin ware, partout, and the etiquette rigid in some particulars;- for instance, nothing in the shape of a fork must be used. With a 'Bowie' you separate a large rib from the mass before you, hold firmly to the smaller end, and your outrageous appetite teaches all the rest. The usual mode of sitting is cross-legged like a Turk. Indians are looking on patiently, in order to be ready for the 2nd table." 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
8/17/1983Treatmentmounted; re-housed
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: Watercolors and Drawings. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
  • 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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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 10 1/4 x W: 12 7/8 in. (26 x 32.7 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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