In 1851, Miller produced a chromolithograph of The Lost Greenhorn with the printmaker H. Ward, Jr. in New York. It was copied from what is probably the first oil on canvas of this popular work, this version of the painting. This suggests that Miller, from the start of exploring this theme, wished the image to have wide circulation. It was, perhaps, his effort to compete with William Ranney whose painting, Trapper’s Last Shot, had won accolades at the American Art Union in New York and the Western Art Union in Cincinnati the year before, and was reproduced as a broadly distributed steel plate engraving. Although the narratives are different, the Miller and Ranney paintings share much in common compositionally and in emotional impact.
Miller started to exhibit at the American Art Union in 1851, the same year he produced this first version of The Lost Green Horn. It was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1852. He had turned more toward mountain man scenes after the mid-1840s (Tyler, 1999, 37) and, though this is not a mountain man picture per se, a lost greenhorn on the prairie would conform to the fresh direction in which he was headed with his art.
Peter H. Hassrick
LR: A. Miller/1851
The artist; Dr. C.A. Harris (1852); Robert G. Osborne, New York (1968); Richard Scudder, N.J. (1969); [Kennedy Galleries, New York (1971)]; R.E. Peters, Scottsdale (1971); [Kennedy Galleries, New York (1975)]; The Warner Collection, Tuscaloosa, AL (1975); present owner