Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Indigenous American Women by Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) - Indian Girl Reposing

Alfred Jacob Miller (American artist, 1810-1874) Indian Girl Reposing

Indian Girl Reposing

"Before they are 16 years of age, these girls may be said to have their hey-day, and even if they become the wives or mates of Trappers, are comparatively happy, for they generally indulge them to their hearts' content; should they become however the squaws of Indians, their lives are subjected to the caprices of a tyrant too often, whose ill treatment is the rule and kindness their exception. Nothing so strikingly distinguishes civilized from savage life as the treatment of women. It is in every particular in favor of the former. The scene in the sketch is a sunset view on the prairie,- a Shoshonee girl reclined on a Buffalo robe near a stream, and some lodges and Indians in the distance." A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837). 

In July of 1858, Baltimore art collector William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at $12  apiece from Baltimore-born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text, & were delivered in installments over the next 21 months & ultimately bound in 3 albums. These albums included transcriptions of field-sketches drawn during Miller's 1837 expedition to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (now western Wyoming).  These watercolors are a unique record of the closing years of the western fur trade.  The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.