Lot 185: Hand-colored Karl Bodmer Engraving
November 5, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Camp of the Gros Ventures of the Praries on the upper Missouri, Tab. 38. Karl Bodmer (1809-1839). from Travels in the Interior of North America. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London: Ackerman & Co., 1832-1843. 18 x 24 3/4 inches sheet. Karl Bodmer was a little-known Swiss painter when he was chosen by Prince Maximilian of Prussia to accompany his voyage to America. With the rest of Maximilian?s company, the two traveled among the Plains Indians from 1832 to 1834, a time when the Plains and the Rockies were still virtually unknown. They arrived in the West before acculturation had begun to change the lives of the Indians, and Bodmer, who was a proteg? of the great naturalist von Humboldt, brought a trained ethnologist?s eye to the task. The Bodmer/Maximilian collaboration produced a record of their expedition that is incontestably the finest early graphic study of the Plains tribes. These prints rank with the finest Western art in any medium, and they are the most complete record of the Plains Indians before the epidemics of the mid-19th century had decimated their numbers, and before the white man?s expansion had taken their lands. Maxmilian?s party, aboard the Flora, were intially apprehensive at the approach of the Gros Ventres, who, as it turned out, only wished to trade.
Artist or Maker: Karl Bodmer
Literature: Aquatint Engraving on Paper