In his notes about the related painting Indian Girl (Sioux) (CR # 468A), Miller discusses the clothing worn by his subject, a young Indian woman. He describes the functionality of her wardrobe in comparison to the fashionable attire of her “civilized sisters,” ostensibly Euro-American women on the East Coast and in Europe. About Indian women, Miller writes, “Their dresses are not for the season but for all time, and as Nature has blessed them with a luxuriant supply of black glossy hair, what do they want with a bonnet? From the skins of the antelope…the skirt of the dress is formed reaching to the knees…This facilitates mounting on horseback.” (Ross, 22) While this passage suggests that Miller most admired the practicality of his sitter’s clothing, his painting reveals that he also appreciated their embellishment.
In this intimate watercolor of an Indian girl with a dog, Miller accentuated the details of his sitter’s dress and accessories. Thin strips of fringe reveal the young woman’s upper arms and lower legs. At least three necklaces crowd her neckline and a scarlet shawl drapes her right shoulder, serving less to cloak her and more to frame her figure in an eye-catching crimson silhouette.
LL: AJM. LR: Sioux. LR on mount: Sioux Indian
The artist; by descent to Louisa Whyte Norton; [Old Print Shop, New York, NY, 1947]; [Edward Eberstadt and Sons, New York, NY]; present owner