This sketch is a composite of two watercolors. The colored bust was cut from another sheet and pasted on to the existing, blue-washed support. Miller then painted over the seams to hide the addition. Joan Troccoli notes that there is a sketch of boys sledding on the reverse, and speculates that the original bust may have been a field sketch that was later revised in his studio. The sketch also includes an inscription “Big Bowl” at lower right, which must have been inscribed in error as it refers to a different image (CR# 303) and appears to be in another hand.
Miller painted two other versions of this sketch: one for William T. Walters and one for Alexander Brown. In his accompanying notes to each, he describes the subject’s high status, and recounts how Shim-a-co-che objected to Miller painting other Crow of lower stature and accomplishments. Although he does not include it in the final texts, his Rough Draft criticizes Shim-a-co-che’s pride and opines that, “Warriors both civilized & savage have their weak points & are not hero’s [sic] to those who see too much of them.” Miller’s text for the Walters version also notes that Shim-a-co-che’s forehead ‘retreats overmuch,’ perhaps a reference to the pseudo-science of phrenology, which purported that such a cranial shape was a sign of inferior intelligence.
LL: AJM; UL: 3; LR: Bigbowl
The artist; Thomas Gilcrease, Tulsa, OK; present owner by gift