In this portrait of a young Chinook Indian, Miller paid special attention to his subject’s “remarkable” elk horn and sinew bow. (Ross, 7, Rough Draughts, 24) Miller was so impressed by this implement that in his notes about this painting he included a diagram illustrating the bow’s shape when strung and unstrung. The weapon resembles Cupid’s bow when taut and a simple arc when slack.
The young man Miller depicts is armed with a quiver of arrows across his back (their feathered ends are visible behind his left shoulder) and is bedecked with jewelry and perhaps a sheathed knife. Peering out at the viewer, he exudes a cool confidence.
Miller did not include a backdrop behind the young Chinook Indian except for milky washes of pink and blue which frame his head and shoulders. The artist focused instead on the details of his sitter’s appearance, clothing, and accessories. He noted that few Chinook Indians visited the rendezvous. Perhaps this is why he devoted his attention to the unique attributes of this “favorable specimen.” (Ross, 7; Rough Draughts, 24)
LL: 20. LR: Chinook Indian/Columbia River
The artist; William T. Walters, Baltimore, MD; present owner by gift