Lot 12390

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Information on the image:

A fine full-length double-portrait composed by Bodmer from individual portraits executed at Fort Union in June of 1833. The figure in the foreground is Pitätapiú, a young warrior and member of the Stone band with his hair ornamented with two small shells. On his left arm is a rawhide shield, painted and with an amulet attached to assure success on horse raids. A riding whip with a wooden handle hangs from a fur loop around his wrist. In his right hand he holds a combination bow/lance that was probably only for ceremonial purposes. The name of the figure in the background is not known, but it is recorded that he was initially very solemn until Bodmer's music box made him laugh. His quilted and beaded shirt is fringed with leather rather than the more usual hair. He cradles a much-prized trade flintlock in the crook of his left arm.

Description of the work:

This rare engraving is from Karl Bodmer's Travels in the Interior of North America. The work was published in Paris, Coblentz and London between 1839 and 1842 and has the blindstamp. The aquatint engraving was completed by Geoffroy after Karl Bodmer.

Karl Bodmer's images show great versatility and technical virtuosity and give us a uniquely accomplished and detailed picture of a previously little understood (and soon to vanish) way of life. Swiss-born Bodmer was engaged by Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied specifically to provide a record of his travels in North America, principally among the Plains Indians.

In the company of David Dreidoppel (Prince Maximilian's servant and hunting companion), their travels in North America were to last from 1832 to 1834. They arrived in Boston in July 1832, traveled on to Philadelphia, where they stayed with Napoleon Bonaparte's elder brother Joseph. From here they headed west across Pennsylvania across the Alleghenies to Pittsburgh and the Ohio country, visiting all the important German settlements en route.

Their most important stop on their route west was at the utopian colony of New Harmony in Indiana. The Prince spent five months there in the company of some of the country's leading scientific men, and studying all the relevant literature on backcountry America. On 24 March 1833 the party reached St. Louis, Missouri, and the start of the journey into Indian country.

  • ~ 18" by 24 3/4"
  • Artist Name:
  • Karl Bodmer
  • Literature:
  • Travels in the Interior of North America
  • Medium:
  • Aquatint Engraving
  • Circa:
  • 1839-1842
  • Condition:
  • Overall Very Good. There are some scattered unobtrusive specks. There may be a minor imperfections to be expected with age. Please review the image carefully for condition and contact us with any questions.

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September 28, 2019 10:00 AM CDT
Franklin, TN, US

Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books

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