Friday, February 10, 2017

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

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

Indian Courtship

"The North American Indian carries his wonderful stoicism into every transaction of his life,- even the tender subject of selecting a helpmate does not disturb his tranquility - neither is he affected with the slightest romance in regard to the subject. He brings his presents and casts them at the feet of his bronzed favorite, ostensibly for her; but intended for the optics of the father,- these consist of cloths of brilliant colors, beaver skins, beads, trinkets &c." 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.