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A Young Woman of the Flat Head Tribe
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A Young Woman of the Flat Head Tribe

Description Conservation Exhibitions 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. One of the social highlights of the rendezvous occured when this young woman ("quite a belle," Miller thought) ran off with a "stalwart Canadian trapper." Not knowing that the trapper had already begun paying court to the girl, one of Miller's friends, a young man from St. Louis named Phillipson, decided that she would be his. His presents and attentions were "kindly received," Miller noted, encouraging the young man. Phillipson felt embarrassed before the whole camp when the "simple Indian girl," realizing that her future was with the trapper, stole off quietly. Phillipson initially was "crest-fallen and melancholy," Miller recorded, but later regained his serenity. 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
8/11/1981Examinationexamined for exhibition
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: An Artist on the Oregon Trail. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody. 1981-1982.
  • 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.
  • Sentimental Journey: The Art of Alfred Jacob Miller. Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha. 2008-2009.
  • From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2014-2016.
Provenance Commissioned by William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860; inherited by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Inscriptions [Signature] Lower right: A. Miller; [Number] Lower right: 26
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor heightened with white on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 11 1/16 x W: 9 7/16 in. (28.1 x 24 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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