Miller he saw some of the most spectacular landscapes of the American West on this, his only, trip into the West. Producing sketches such as this one, he realized that he lacked the ability to adequately capture the scenes, either in paint or words, but his eyes took in the “deep purple masses,” the “salmon-coloured granite rock,” and the “immense sheets of clear water” as he dabbed his brush on the sketching paper. Europe, Greece, Egypt—their wonders have been “done to death,” he wrote, but “here is a new field for… the enterprising traveler…. These mountain Lakes have been waiting for him for thousands of years, and could afford to wait thousands of years longer, for they are now as fresh and beautiful as if just from the hands of the Creator.” Looking at those peaks, Miller felt the exhilaration of an explorer: “In all probability, when we saw them not 20 white men had ever stood on their borders…. Here are mountains and lakes reaching from Tehuantepec to the Frozen Ocean in the North…nearly one seventh part of the globe—ample room and verge enough, one would think, for a legion of tourists.” He was proud of the fact that he had preceded Lt. Frémont to the area by almost five years. (Tyler, 1982, p. 34)
This small oil sketch is similar to Miller’s other images of Green River and might have been a study that he made as preparation for the larger landscapes.
LC mat: Green River. Signed LL: AJM
The artist; Lloyd O. Miller; [Edward Eberstadt and Sons, New York, NY]; H.J. Lutcher Stark, Orange, TX, 1959; present owner: Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, Orange, TX, by bequest, 1965, accessioned to the Stark Museum of Art, 1978