SPLENDID HAND-COLORED AQUATINT OF AN INDIAN ENCAMPMENT BY BODMER, ONE OF THE FINE “VIGNETTE” IMPRESSIONS
BODMER, Karl. Punka Indians Encamped on the Banks of the Missouri. London: Ackermann (Bougeard), 1839. Single sheet, plate impression measures 12-1/2 by 9-1/2 inches; window matted, entire piece measures 23 by 20 inches. $1500.
Original hand-colored aquatint Plate XI, third 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. “On 11 May 1833 a small group of Ponca men seen on the riverbank were invited aboard the steamship Yellow Stone… The ship reached their camp the following day and paused just long enough to allow the Ponca passengers to disembark” (Marsha V. Gallagher). The print is vignette number XI, with the three requisite imprint statements and captions in German, French and English. Third state, with the date in the imprint statement and engraved by Lucas Weber. Ruud, 267. See Howes M443a. Wagner-Camp 76. Streeter III:1809.
Hand coloring very vivid, only light foxing to margins (not affecting image). A splendid print.