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. "Among these wandering tribes 'eternal vigilance is the price of safety.' During our whole journey, scarcely a day passed that we were not conscious of being under the surveillance of unseen eyes. From the tops of bluffs, on the prairie lying in the long grass, behind trees, and in the midst of bushes, our every movement was noted and reported at headquarters. In civilized life we appreciated the industry of that active person Mrs. Grundy, but in the matter of inquisitiveness our North American Indians surpass her,- the motive is different however." 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 William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860, by commission; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Monogram] Lower right: AJMiller (?)
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860
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