Funeral Scaffold of a Sioux Chief


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Item#: 40834 price:$6,000.00

Funeral Scaffold of a Sioux Chief


BODMER, Karl. Hand-colored folio plate. ["Todtengeruste Eines Sioux-Chefs. Echafaudage Funeraire d'un Chef Sioux (Funeral Scaffold of a Sioux Chief, Near Fort Pierre)"]. FROM: PRINCE MAXIMILLIAN zu WIED-NEUWIED. Travels in the Interior Parts of North America. Paris: Arthus Bertrand (Imprimé de Bougeard), [1839]. Original hand-colored engraving, measuring approximately 16 by 14 inches; handsomely matted and framed, entire piece measures 28 by 30 inches. $6000.

Fine hand-colored folio plate (number 11), first state, depicting a group of Sioux men and women in deep conversation with their teepee village and the funeral scaffold of their chief in the background, from the magnificent Atlas volume for Maximilian Wied-Neuwied's Travels in the Interior of North America.

This striking image depicts Sioux life during the 19th century. The foreground features a group of men in thoughtful conversation, while a woman and her children stand slightly off to the side. In the background lies the Sioux tribe's teepee village as well as the funeral scaffold bearing the skeletal remains of their chief. The traditional funeral rite demonstrates the Sioux's integration with nature, while its juxtaposition with daily life serves as an affirmation of the natural process of death, reflective of a deep, peaceful spirituality.

Travels in the Interior of North America was originally published in German in 1839-41. A French translation followed in 1840-43 and an English translation in 1843. The Atlas included 33 vignettes in addition to the 48 beautiful folio plates. "Bodmer's watercolors are perhaps the most accurate works of art ever made of American Indians during the 19th century. His attention in detail to beadwork, personal symbols, clothing, accoutrements, and facial expression make these portraits precious documents of a lost world" (Robert Moore). "With the name of the artist—"C. Bodmer Direct"— stamped in blind on each of the 48 large plates, this work is the most beautiful, faithful and vivid ever produced depicting western plains and Indians" (Howes M443a). This superb hand-colored scene of a Sioux funeral platform is folio number 11 (with the requisite three separate imprint statements, captions in German, French, and English, and the embossed stamp). First state, without a date in the imprint statement. Ruud, 116. See Howes M443a. Wagner-Camp 76. Streeter III:1809.

Almost imperceptible foxing to margins (not affecting the quality of the image). A very desirable and rare Bodmer, in near-fine condition.

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