The Art of Karl Bodmer

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This is a collection of color prints based on the work of Karl Bodmer (1809-1893), a Swiss artist who traveled through the American interior from 1832 to1834. These prints rank with the finest Western art in any medium. The 1837-38 smallpox epidemic that killed more than half the Blackfeet and almost all the Mandan makes Bodmer's work the primary account of what became lost cultures. Each print is based on a Bodmer original pencil or watercolor sketch, which was then refined and prepared for publication as an aquatint engraving. The popularity of Bodmer’s work and the absence of copyright protection ensured that the prints were repeatedly pirated and re-published. Thus, there is no way to say for certain when or from where these prints originated. See Karl Bodmer's North American Prints for further reading. Available from Yakima Valley Libraries.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 9
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    Carl Bodmer Paints the Indian Frontier
    (Smithsonian Institution, 1954) Smithsonian Institution; Click Relander Collection, Yakima Valley Libraries
    An exhibition index and descriptive text for the 1954 Smithsonian traveling exhibition of Bodmer's original sketches and watercolors. Green wraps. 25 pp. 9 bw plates. Short essays by Karl Viktor Prinz zu Wied and John C. Ewers and a catalogue of the 118 works in the exhibition: 29 landscapes (mostly watercolors), 24 Indian life and customs (pencil and/or watercolor), 52 portraits of Indians (mostly watercolors), 11 animals and plants (watercolor or pencil), and 2 drawings by Indians.
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    Sih-Chidä and Mahchsi-Karehde
    (1843) Bodmer, Karl; Click Relander Collection, Yakima Valley Libraries
    A full-length double portrait by Bodmer, composed from sketches made during the winter of 1833-1834. On the left stands Sih-Chidä (`Yellow Feather') a young warrior who was fascinated by Bodmer's work. His portrait was carried out over three days in early December 1833. On the right is Mahchsi-Karehde (`Flying War Eagle'), who at just over six feet was the tallest of the Mandan. He too showed much interest in Bodmer's work, and over the winter was a frequent visitor.
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    Mexkemahuastan, Chief of the Gros-Ventres of the Prairies.
    (derivative of 1843 publication) Bodmer, Karl; Click Relander Collection, Yakima Valley Libraries
    Hand-colored aquatint engraving by Hürlimann after Bodmer, blind stamp. Bodmer painted this portrait of Mexkemáuastan (`Stirring Iron'), a Gros Ventre chief and medicine man, in 1833.
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    Indian Utensils and Arms
    (First state of this work was prepared for publication in TRAVELS IN THE INTERIOR OF NORTH AMERICA, which was originally published by Ackermann and Co, London., derivative work based on 1843 publication of original image in TRAVELS IN THE INTERIOR OF NORTH AMERICA.) Bodmer, Karl; Click Relander Collection, Yakima Valley Libraries
    There are multiple works that use this same title, all by Bodmer. An elaborately composed grouping of Indian artifacts based on drawings made of items that Prince Maximilian purchased and brought back to Europe as well as belongings sketched by Bodmer in situ and retained by their original Indian owners.
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    Facsimile of an Indian Painting
    (Le Magasin pittoresque, derivative of a work published in 1863) Máto-Tópe; Click Relander Collection at Yakima Valley Libraries
    Self portrait of the artist wearing full feather headdress, in hand-to-hand combat with a Cheyenne chief.