In 1833, at the age of 24, Swiss-born artist Karl Bodmer traveled 500 miles along the wild and untamed Missouri River with the German anthropologist Prince Maximilian. The small expedition spent an extraordinary year sketching, painting and writing about the daily life and ceremonies of the many diverse Plains Indian Tribes living along the Missouri.
On their return to Europe, the team spent the next few years turning Bodmer's exquisite watercolors and Maximilian's monumental narrative into a portfolio of aquatints and text to be translated into German, French and English. The portfolios were published in two versions, one a beautiful hand-colored set and the other in black and white.
Upon its publication, Europeans had their first real glimpse of the exotic peoples who inhabited the New World. In those images they saw the men and women of such tribes as Manadan, Cree, Sioux, Blackfoot, Minnataree, Assiniboin, and Gros Ventres in their precise tribal dress, in their huts, in battle, hunting buffalo or mourning their dead.
Today, the unprecedented work of Maximilian and Bodmer has become the most important documentation of an aboriginal people who would virtually disappear within a decade, due to alcohol, smallpox and the relentless western migration from the east.
Karl Bodmer's original watercolors are now in the permanent collection of the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.
ARTWORK: Karl Bodmer
The Trusted Gallery Network®
FADA takes pride in being an exclusive association of independent fine art galleries presenting an encyclopedic inventory of curated artworks covering the gamut of the art world. If you’d like to hear from us every once in a while about FADA events, new artwork and other timely news, please sign up below. We’ll make sure not to clog your inbox!