Alfred Jacob Miller (American, 1810–1874),
Portrait of Captain Joseph Reddeford Walker
oil on canvas, 24 x 20 in.; 60.96 x 50.8 cm
Museum purchase, 1963.610
The accomplishments of Joseph Walker (1798–1876) rank with those of Kit Carson and Jim Bridger, although Walker is not nearly as famous. He surveyed the Santa Fe Trail, he was the first white man to see Yosemite, and he led the first wagon train into California. William Drummond Stewart befriended him on one of his mountain forays, and introduced him to Miller at the 1837 rendezvous trading fair. Miller’s portrait shows Walker clad in frontier clothes but carrying a pocket watch. Walker’s handsome features are finely drawn, and his clear blue eyes gaze directly and confidently at the viewer.