In the two versions of the work Death of the Elk, the artist profiles a fleeing elk bounding out of a dense landscape seemingly unscathed. Its frozen pose rendered mid-air offers the viewer a visual trophy, a testament to the power and life force of the animal. Miller’s depiction of a large bull elk, with an impressive rack of antlers, reinforces its trophy status and Stewart’s estimation of the elk as “the finest of big game animals.” (Western Association, 270)
Both images provide complementary counterpoints to the works Elk Hunting in the Rocky Mountains and Elk Hunting Among the Black Hills (CR# 125 and 125A); While Death of the Elk privileges the view of the animal, relegating the hunters, Stewart and Antoine Clement, to the background periphery, Elk Hunting in the Rocky Mountains takes the opposite approach by favoring the hunters and the moment before the kill.
Emily C. Wilson
The artist; Sir William Drummond Stewart, 1839; Frank Nichols, 1871; Bonamy Mansell Power; willed to Edward Power, 1900; by descent to Major G.H. Power, Great Yarmouth, England; Earl C. Adams, San Marino, California; present owner