Miller produced about a dozen versions of his famous Lost Greenhorn. This is the only one in which the central character is shown dismounted and standing next to a mule. All others, including a chromolithographic copy, picture the hunter on a white horse and usually with a bright red blanket blowing in the wind past his right shoulder. They also portray the man with an expression of concern, as if, in his perplexed state, he is something of an anti-hero placed in direct contrast with the savvier mountain men and hunters with whom the artist associated in 1837.
In this version, clearly labeled by the artist as a “Lost Greenhorn,” the hunter is oddly given a nonchalant demeanor. His mount grazes lazily, without any of the alert attention to the situation that Miller imposes on the horses in the other versions. The composition is vertical here as well, diminishing the impact of the vast prairie that, in the other pieces, spreads sublimely uninterrupted beyond the hunter’s view into the distance.
Peter H. Hassrick
LR: Lost Greenhorn
The artist; by descent to L. Vernon Miller, Baltimore, MD; [M. Knoedler & Co., New York, NY, 1948]; present owner