This painting appears closely related to CR# 315, a slightly smaller work also titled Kaw Indian. The latter seems a portrait of the same grim-faced, unkempt individual, but depicts only his bust, with detail dissolving at his shoulders and chest.
In this painting, Miller took a wider angle on his subject, delineating his fringed leather shirt in more detail and sketchily suggesting a blanket covering his subject’s waist and lap. The sitter’s right arm and hand are awkwardly drawn, appearing too foreshortened. Joan Troccoli suggests that Miller’s summary treatment of the lower third of the painting “and its cockled, soiled, and stained condition may be evidence that this is a portrait begun in the field and reworked later in the studio.” (Troccoli, 24) If this is the case, CR# 315 may be a later version in which Miller more confidently painted a bust-length portrait of this Kaw Indian whom he likely met on his westward expedition.
Karen B. McWhorter
LR: AJM. LR: Kaw Indian
The artist; [?]; Thomas Gilcrease, Tulsa, OK; present owner by gift