The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984

Book Reviews
NORMAN D. BROWN, Editor
Alfred Jacob Miller: Artist on the Oregon Trail. Edited by Ron
Tyler, with a catalogue raisonne by Karen Dewees Reynolds and
William R. Johnston. (Fort Worth, Tex.: Amon Carter Museum,
1982. Pp. viii+48o. Acknowledgments, introduction, map, illus-
trations, appendixes, bibliography, index. $45.)
This multi-authored book on Alfred Jacob Miller, painter of the
American West, is by far the most ambitious study of that artist under-
taken to date. In addition to four scholarly essays by noteworthy schol-
ars and an introduction by Peter Hassrick, director of the Buffalo
Bill Historical Center, it also includes a catalogue raisonne of Miller's
works. Hassrick's comment in the introduction is indeed apt: that the
serious critical work on Miller "is begun here" (p. 6).
Alfred Jacob Miller, a young Baltimore painter, traveled West with
the Scottish nobleman Sir William Drummond Stewart and a cara-
van of mountain men in 1837. For both Stewart and Miller the experi-
ence was a grand adventure with the mountain men and Indians on
the plains and in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, where in 1837
they joined the annual mountain-man rendezvous in the valley of the
Upper Green River. During the course of the journey, Miller made
hundreds of sketches in watercolors and gouaches of the stirring life
of the mountain men and Indians. These sketches, made at Stewart's
behest, recorded their adventure, but more importantly they provide
the only factual documentation of the lost world of the mountain
men, or fur trappers, of the Rocky Mountains. Even if he had pos-
sessed no skill as an artist, Miller's many works would have provided
prime documentation for this colorful era in American history. But
Miller was an extraordinary and exciting romantic painter in his own
right, such that he must be classed as one of the truly important
artists of the early nineteenth century. The many fine illustrations in
this book abundantly attest to that fact.
William R. Johnston's essays supply us with much-needed accurate

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/. Accessed October 23, 2014.