Thursday, August 18, 2016

Indigenous American Women by Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) - Mother and Children


Alfred Jacob Miller (American artist, 1810-1874) Group of Indian Mother and Children

Group of Indian Mother and Children

"The sketch represents a Dacotah Mother fondling a papoose, with a little dusky imp near her in the shape of a son. To the right is a temporary lodge of twigs or osier bent, and the ends firmly fixed into the ground; pieces transversed are secured to these, and over this frame is stretched blankets, buffalo robes, or anything in fact that will answer for a covering; as it is only 4 feet in height, the occupant can only creep in and lie down... In the middle distance is an Indian preparing dried meat. The meat is first cut into thin slices, laid on a frame over the fire and smoked, packed into bundles, and laid by for scarcity in provender, or for winter use." 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.


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