Miller was exposed to European Romanticism through his travel in Europe in 1832 – 1834; his Paris sketchbooks contain drawings after Romantic paintings such as Eugene Delacroix’s Barque of Dante. Miller was in Europe when Delacroix embarked on his journey to North Africa with the Comte de Mornay, and some art historians have surmised that Miller knew of the trip and may later have viewed his own opportunity to travel to an exotic land as a chance to be the “Delacroix of the West.”
This ink and wash sketch lacks the rich coloring of Delarcroix’s North African watercolors. But its subject matter, Indian women reposing in the shade waiting for the men in the caravan to arrive, echoes harem scenes popularized by Delacroix and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. One of the women even lies on her side with her legs lightly crossed in a classic “odalisque” pose. Moreover, the young Indian women, with their dark skin and long, glossy black hair, would have been as exotic to most of Miller’s audience as the North African women Delacroix pictured. The curving horizontal forms of the women are repeated throughout the sketch in the curving branches of the trees, the arching blades of grass, and the graceful swaths of wash that form the embankment where the women lay.
The artist; Sir William Drummond Stewart, 1839; Frank Nichols Stewart; [Chapman’s Edinburgh, 1871]; Bonamy Mansell Power; willed to Edward Power, 1900; by descent to Major G.H. Power, Great Yarmouth England; ; [Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, NY, 1966]; [Kennedy Galleries, New York, NY, 1966]; Eugene B. Adkins, Tulsa, OK, 1967; present owner