biography of Alfred Jacob MILLER (1810-1874)

Birth place: Baltimore, MD

Death place: Baltimore

Addresses: Baltimore; New Orleans, LA, 1836

Profession: Landscape and portrait painter

Studied: Thomas Sully, Phila. , 1831-32; …cole des Beaux Arts, Paris, 1833; English Life School, Rome, 1834.

Exhibited: Apollo Gal., NYC (1839: 18 large oils based on Western sketches); NAD, 1844-45; PAFA, 1847-61; Maryland Hist. Soc.

Work: Walters Gal., Baltimore, MD (collection of 200 watercolors, made in 1859-60 for William T. Walters); Stark Mus. of Art, Orange, TX; Joslyn Art Mus., Omaha, NE; Buffalo Bill Hist. Center, Cody, WY; Amon Carter MA, Fort Worth, TX; Baltimore MA; Univ. WY; Mus. of NM, Santa Fe; Denver AM

Comments: One of the most important documenters of the Old West, he is best known for his dramatic and romantic scenes featuring the lives of Native Americans and daring mountain men. In 1837, he met Captain William Drummond Stewart in New Orleans and accompanied him as expedition artist into the Rocky Mountains. Between the spring and fall of 1837 Miller made about 200 on-the-spot pencil and watercolor sketches on the Oregon Trail, recording the scenery and the lives of the local Indians and mountain men. His grand views of Wyoming's Wind River Mountains beguiled American audiences. On his return to New Orleans (autumn, 1837), he began turning these sketches into oils ó a practice he continued while on his 1840-42 artist-in-residency at Stewart"s castle in Perthshire, Scotland. In 1842, Miller moved back to Baltimore and over the next thirty years painted portraits and continued to make numerous copies of his Western sketches, in oil and watercolor.

Sources: G&W; Marvin C. Ross, The West of Alfred Jacob Miller; De Voto, Across the Wide Missouri; Hunter, Alfred Jacob Miller, Artist of Baltimore and the West; [Brunet], Descriptive Catalogue of a Collection of Water-Colour Drawings by Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) in the Public Archives of Canada; Ross, "A List of Portraits and Paintings from Alfred Jacob Miller's Account Book;" Baltimore CD 1833-74; Rutledge, PA; Rutledge, MHS; Cowdrey, NAD; Cowdrey, AA & AAU; Washington Art Association Cat., 1857. More recently, see Baigell, Dictionary; Encyclopaedia of New Orleans Artists; P & H Samuels, 324; 300 Years of American Art, vol.1, 147