Wednesday, August 17, 2016

19C Native American Women by Alfred Jacob Miller 1810-1874


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

"The amusements of these young girls is very limited - riding horses, when they can get them, swimming in the streams, which they can do like ducks, and playing with the dog. Fashion does not trouble their simple little heads, as is the case with their civilized sisters. Their dresses are not for the season but for all time, and as Nature has blessed them with a luxuriant supply of black hair, what do they want with a bonnet?" 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.