SPLENDID HAND-COLORED PENNSYLVANIA LANDSCAPE BY BODMER, ONE OF THE FINE “VIGNETTE” IMPRESSIONS, WITH HIS EMBOSSED STAMP
BODMER, Karl. Ansicht von Mauch-Chunk (View of Mauch-Chunk). Coblenz: J. Hoscher; London: Ackermann; Paris: Arthus Bertrand (Imprimé de Bougeard), . Plate impression measures 12-1/2 by 9 inches; matted, entire piece measures 19-1/2 by 17 inches. $1300.
Original hand-colored aquatint Plate V, 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, providing authentic glimpse into 19th-century America by one of the most eminent European artists. Unlike other painters, Bodmer tried not to romanticize his subjects, but show them as they really were. This superb hand-colored aquatint landscape of the colliery near the town of Mauch-Chunk (now Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania), built to transport coal down the mountainside from the mines above, was described by Maximilian in his journal: “On the right or southern wall, a railroad comes from one of the collieries of the Mauch Chunk Company… as far as to the valley of the Lehigh, and then turns to the right towards Mauch Chunk,… The railroad is constructed of parallel pieces of wood, upon which the iron rails are fastened… In order to save expenses, a single road was built, so that wagons running up and downward have to use the same tracks, and accidents may easily happen.” The print is vignette number V, 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, 251. See Howes M443a. Wagner-Camp 76. Streeter III:1809.
Miniscule specs of foxing. A rare Bodmer image, in near-fine condition.