Friday, August 4, 2017

Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) - Indian Girls Swinging

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

This "single incident that arrested the Artist's eye" proved to be a popular picture that, perhaps as much as any other image, seemed to show the Indians to be a carefree, romantic lot. Miller later permitted it to be copied as a chromolithograph for C. W. Webber's book entitled "The Hunter-Naturalist: Wild Scenes and Song-Birds" (1854). As might be anticipated, later editions of the work had the girl fully clothed, despite Miller's note that "she had in truth, almost 'nothing to wear.'" 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.