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. In 1837, Baltimore artist Alfred Jacob Miller journeyed to the frontier with the American Fur Company. Along the way, he made many sketches of Native Americans, concentrating particularly on their relationship with the fur trade. Miller commented on the conflict between the traders and the Shoshonee: "In passing down the Platte, the American Fur Comp[any]'s boats are constantly liable to attack from hostile Indians prowling on the banks . . . it is a dark day for the 'voyageurs' if the boat should run aground. . . ." 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.
- The Western Experience. The Monmouth Museum, Lincroft. 1989.
- Setting Sail: Drawings of the Sea from WAM. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2011.
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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