Karl Bodmer is considered by many authorities to be the greatest nineteenth-century artist to have produced prints of the American West. In 1832 he came to America with his patron, Prince Maximilian of Wied, to put together as complete a study as possible of the western territories of the United States. The result was the publication of Maximilian’s journals in successive German, French, and English editions between 1839 and 1843, and with it, a picture atlas of eighty-one aquatint plates after paintings by Bodmer. Bodmer was a keen observer of a world that few Europeans had ever seen or described and proved himself one of the ablest landscape painters of the American West.
Snags (Sunken Trees) on the Missouri, Karl Bodmer, c. 1839-1843, Colored aquatint engraving, 10.25 x 12.75 inches, $1,200
Bodmer is best known for the watercolors he did on on a five-thousand mile trip up the Missouri River in 1833 and 1834 when he accompanied the German prince Maximilian on an exploratory trip of the Far West. Maximilian, Prince of Wied, was a natural historian by avocation, and had come to America to study the unique features of the land and the people. On this trip, Bodmer painted numerous Indian subjects and river scenes, which Maximilian published as engravings and aquatints along with his own observations in a book titled “Travels in the Interior of North America”.
His early training was in Paris, and in 1847, he moved to Germany where he painted the lush woods. In 1849, he painted with Francois Millet and others at Barbizon, a small town in France, and his forest interiors won recognition in Paris Salon exhibitions.
Source: Matthew Baigell, “Dictionary of American Artists”
Camp of the Gros Ventres of the Prairies on the Upper Missouri, Karl Bodmer, c. 1840, Colored aquatint engraving, 10.00 x 12.50 inches, $3,500
Kiechel Fine Art also has an extensive collection of prints by