September 25, 2010—January 16, 2011

Location: Bloch Building, Gallery L13

Free Admission

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In early 1837, Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874), a Baltimore artist working in New Orleans, traveled with an expedition to the Rocky Mountains and the annual gathering of the fur trade. Miller spent six months in the West, and his experiences supplied the raw material for his art for the rest of his career.

The 30 works on paper in this exhibition, not seen in public since 1964, are mainly intermediary steps in Miller’s process of art-making from field sketches to commissioned finished works.

Miller depicted American Indians and mountain men, wildlife, and the western landscape in various media, but mostly in watercolor. Far more than just laying out Miller's preferred subjects, this exhibition explores the artist's patrons, methods, and ideas of his art. It also encourages us to reconsider our own understandings of the West, past and present.

Making the West
Miller’s West
Acquiring the West
Influences beyond the West

Library Reading Guide

Life on the Frontier: Images of the Nineteenth Century American West

After opening at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the exhibition will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Romancing the West: Alfred Jacob Miller in the Bank of America Collection is organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and is made possible by the Bank of America Art in our Communities™ program. Additional support is provided by the Campbell-Calvin Fund and Elizabeth C. Bonner Charitable Trust for exhibitions.

All works in the exhibition are by Alfred Jacob Miller (American, 1810–1874) and are undated, Bank of America Collection. Photography by John Lamberton

Images: Alfred Jacob Miller, Self-Portrait, c. 1850. Oil on canvas. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. Map: David Rumsey Map Collection,

Headers: Indian Village (detail), undated. Watercolor, gouache, pencil and glazes on beige wove paper. Attrapez des Chevaux (detail), undated. Watercolor, gouache, and pencil, with ink and gum glazes on beige wove paper.


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