Saturday, November 15, 2008

Featured Pipe Smoker (Art): Shoshone Warrior with Pipe by Alfred Miller

Shoshone Warrior with Pipe by Alfred Jacob Miller

Not a person, but a painting of someone whose name is apparently lost to history. According to the book I scanned this from, the artist said the warrior's pipe was "the great solace of his leisure hours."

As for the artist, Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) was born in Baltimore, and it is written that he was the first artist of his generation to explore the American West. He accompanied an expedition led by Sir William Drummond Stewart in 1837, following a route that later became known as the Oregon Trail. He witnessed one of the fur trappers' annual rendezvous on the Green River in what is now Wyoming.

After the expedition, he returned to his home town of Baltimore, where he remained until his death, creating many works of art based on the sights he had seen during his journey into the west. Few people knew of his works during his lifetime, and it wasn't until after his death that his art came to the attention of the general public.

An entry on Miller with many links leading to online exhibitions of his work can be found at artcyclopedia.

The pipe in the portrait is made of a wooden (or perhaps, cane or reed) stem with the bowl undoubtedly carved from the rock known as pipestone or Catlinite.

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