This composition is essentially a variant of another elk hunting scene originally painted for the Stewart album (CR# 373), but it has been flipped so that the elk and their hunters face toward the right. It may have been conceived expressly for the Walters commission, as the preliminary sketch (CR# 375) appears stylistically to be very close in date to the final watercolor. Although this watercolor is considerably more highly finished, and the colors are richly saturated, both have a busy surface with waving blades of grass, thickly fringed clothing, and waving mane and tail characteristic of Miller’s late work. Additionally, no field sketch or earlier version has been located.
Miller’s accompanying note discusses the challenge of hunting elk, which were fleeter than horses. Hunters needed to shoot quickly into a herd to bring down whatever animals they could before the elk got away. Alternatively, hunters could lie in wait and pick them off, surround them, or drive them into a river.
The artist; William T. Walters, Baltimore, MD; present owner by gif