Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) - Indian Lodge

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

Indian Lodge

Along the waters of the upper Platte River, Miller encountered this Indian who had taken advantage of a perculiarly bent tree to put up planks to form a "very tolerable Lodge for his progeny." To the right a female is seated, making moccasins. The head of the household is seated to the left, smoking his calumet, "not trying to solve the difficult problem, the squaring of the circle," Miller supposed. 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 written by the artist, & were delivered in installments over the next 21 months & ultimately bound in 3 albums. These albums included the 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 offer a unique record of the the lives of those involved in the closing years of the western fur trade & a look at the artist's opinions of both women & Native Americans. 

 The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.