Miller painted several sunrise scenes, but this seems to be one of very few depictions of an Indian encampment at dawn. In Breaking up Camp at Sunrise (CR# 58C), Miller pictures his comrades setting off on the trail, their wagon train wending toward the distant horizon. Miller noted that the men in his caravan began dismantling camp and preparing breakfast at first light. According to the artist, “At this period [sunrise], one of the strongest contrasts presents itself, and illustrates in a striking manner the difference between the white and red man. While all is activity and bustle with the Anglo-Saxon…the Indian lingers to the last moment around the camp fire.” (Ross, 142)
Indian Encampment at Sunrise seems to illustrate Miller’s conviction. It is a peaceful scene in which only a few figures are silhouetted against the rising sun; two people encircle a campfire in the foreground and several others stand along the lakeshore. A radiant sunrise illuminates this serene tableau, a wholly desperate depiction than Miller’s scene of camp life among his peers in Breaking up the Camp at Sunrise.
The artist; [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, Texas, by bequest, 1965, accessioned to the Stark Museum of Art, 1978