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The Grizzly Bear

Alfred Jacob Miller1858-1860

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

"Hunters are in full tilt after the most formidable of all animals met within the journey [the Grizzly bear]. It is no child's play, but downright dangerous sport. Strange that this should be its greatest charm to the reckless trapper and Indian. To hunt and capture the Grizzly bear is a signal honor, and is considered a great coup - And as we only killed 9 in our journey outward, it would seem that they are not plentiful." 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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