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An Indian Camp

Alfred Jacob Miller1858-1860

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

"At no distant date, the mountains and prairies of the Far West will no longer be a place of refuge from the onward march of civilization & 'then (as an American writer remarks) will the last Indian stand upon the verge of the Pacific seas, and his sun will have gone down forever.' The sketch presents a scene at an Indian camp, with their Lodges near at hand;- the principal figure wears a painted robe whereon is depicted his battles,- the figures shewing a glorious contempt for all acknowledged rules of perspective. In the foreground a female is cording a bale of dried meat,- distant figures trying their bows &c." A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837).

In July 1858 William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at twelve dollars apiece from Baltimore born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text, and were delivered in installments over the next twenty-one months and ultimately were bound in three albums. Transcriptions of field-sketches drawn during the 1837 expedition that Miller had undertaken to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (in what is now western Wyoming), these watercolors are a unique record of the closing years of the western fur trade.

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