This pencil and wash sketch presents a rough version of the finished composition Miller rendered for Stewart’s album (CR# 78A). Here, the artist experiments with shading, using thick layers of opaque white gouache to run highlights along the horses’ heads, and on the left side of the bodies of the figures in the foreground, as if to suggest the light cast by the setting sun. Squiggling lines of pencil and pen and ink at the upper left show Miller playing with different ways of rendering tree branches.
In this version, Miller has replaced Stewart’s canvas tents with tipis, although Stewart’s party continues to make up the figures picketing the horses. The artist seems to have been happy, though, with his rendering of the figures and made little change to pose or dress from this version to the Stewart one. As might be expected of a preparatory sketch, the edges of this sheet show evidence of wear, with small tears and abrasions that suggest long use in Miller’s studio.
LR: Evening – Picketing Horses.
The artist; The Porter Collection; Mae Reed Porter, Kansas City, MO; [M. Knoedler and Company, New York, NY]; InterNorth Art Foundation, Omaha, NE; present owner