SPLENDID HAND-COLORED AQUATINT OF BEAVERS BY BODMER, ONE OF THE FINE “VIGNETTE” IMPRESSIONS, WITH HIS EMBOSSED STAMP
BODMER, Karl. Biberbau am Missouri (Beaver Hut on the Missouri). Coblenz, London, Paris: J. Hoscher, Ackermann, Arthus Bertrand (Imprimé de Bougeard), . Single sheet, plate impression measures 12-1/2 by 9 inches; handsomely framed, entire piece measures 19 by 17 inches. $2000.
Original hand-colored aquatint Plate XVII, first state, one of the 33 “vignettes” from Karl Bodmer’s magnificent picture-atlas, produced for Maximilian Wied-Neuwied’s Travels in the Interior of North America (1839-1843).
Maximilian’s monumental work was originally published in German (1839-41); a French translation followed in 1840-43 and an English translation in 1843. A picture-atlas of eighty-one aquatint plates (48 folios and 33 “vignettes”) after paintings by Karl Bodmer was issued in Paris, and accompanied all three of these editions. The picture volume is now regarded as one of the most comprehensive and memorable visual surveys of North America ever produced. The images provide an authentic glimpse into 19th-century America by one of the most eminent European artists. Unlike some other painters, Bodmer tried not to romanticize his subjects, but show them as they really were. Perhaps the most important leg of Maximilian’s travels started from St. Louis and proceeded up the treacherous Missouri River along the line of forts established by the American Fur Company. As seen by Bodmer on July 17, 1833, this superb hand-colored aquatint of beavers building their lodge on the banks of the Missouri is one of a series of drawings made as the expedition worked its way under sail from Fort Union to Fort McKenzie aboard the keelboat Flora— fighting swift currents, rain and mosquitos. The print is vignette number XVII, with the three requisite imprint statements, captions in German, French and English, and with the name of the artist—“C. Bodmer, Direct.”— embossed on the plate. First state, without a date in the imprint statement. Ruud, 280-81. See Howes M443a. Wagner-Camp 76. Streeter III:1809.
Impression crisp, colors bright and true. A rare Bodmer image, in fine condition.