Sale 18BP02 | Lot 245

[BODMER, KARL] Bodmer's America. Karl Bodmer's Illustrations to Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied's Travels in the Interior of North America 1832-1834.

Catalogue: Rare Books, Autographs & Maps

Lot Details

Lot 245
[BODMER, KARL] Bodmer's America. Karl Bodmer's Illustrations to Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied's Travels in the Interior of North America 1832-1834.
[Title page caption:] Drawn from nature and engraved in Paris under the artist's direction between 1836 and 1843. Printed from the original plates in the collection of the Joslyn Art Museum and published by Alecto Historical Editions London.

London: Alecto Historical Editions, [1991]. Number 19 of 125 sets. Letterpress title page, contents leaf, and 81 plates laid into five portfolios, all housed in the large clamshell case of issue with paper labels. The 81 plates comprising 48 Tableau and XXXIII Vignette plates, each an engraving with fine hand-coloring heightened with gum arabic, titled below the image in English, French and German, and with the faint blindstamp (here "AE" but in the style of the stamp Bodmer's used on the originals). Sheets each 27 1/4 x 22 1/4 inches. Small dimple to text leaves, lifting of box spine label and some light soiling to case, the plates immaculate and likely never removed.

On an 1832 expedition arranged by the aristocratic German naturalist Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, Swiss artist Karl Bodmer (1809-93) was commissioned to record the people and places encountered as they travelled up the Missouri River from St. Louis as far as Fort McKenzie in today's Montana. The 2500 mile journey included wintering at Fort Clark (North Dakota) among the Mandan and Hidatsa, and later encountering Sioux, Assiniboine, Plains Cree, Gros Ventres and Blackfoot. Bodmer's stunning visual record of the expedition, from individual portraits to hunting scenes and intimate interiors, are acknowledged as the most important depictions of these Western Native American cultures in advance of their precipitous decline after 1850. The works of art, prepared as a series of 81 aquatint plates to accompany Prince Maximilian's narrative, are celebrated for their faithfulness, beauty, accuracy, and sensitivity to their subjects. Upon returning to Europe, Bodmer and Prince Maximilian had the plates prepared in Paris and the work was first published in German in Koblenz as Reise in das innere Nord-Amerika in den Jahren 1832 bis 1834 in two volumes in 1839 and 1841 and subsequently issued in Paris and in English, titled as Travels in the Interior of North America. The printing plates of this great work were rediscovered in Wied in the 1950s and donated the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, home of the largest collection of original artwork and prints by Karl Bodmer. The Joslyn collaborated with Alecto Historical Editions to produce this magnificent facsimile from those original plates in the low limitation of 125 copies, many of which were instantly acquired by institutions. We trace just one other copy sold at auction of this monumental undertaking.


Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000
Sold for $18,750 (includes buyer's premium)

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Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000
Sold for $18,750 (includes buyer's premium)

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Rare Books, Autographs & Maps

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