Prints of Watercolors by Karl Bodmer (1809-1893)

 In Current Exhibitions

Karl Bodmer: Travels in North America

April 1 – December 31, 2021

Between 1832-34, the explorer and naturalist Prince Alexander Philipp Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, Germany, and the Swiss born artist Karl Bodmer (1809-1893) embarked on a voyage into the furthest reaches of the American Interior. They arrived in Boston in July 1832, traveled on to Philadelphia, where they stayed with Napoleon Bonaparte’s elder brother Joseph. From here they headed west across Pennsylvania across the Alleghenies to Pittsburgh and the Ohio country, visiting all the important German settlements en route. Their most important stop on their route west was at the utopian colony of New Harmony in Indiana.

They set forth from St. Louis in April 1833 on a 2,500-mile journey by steamship and keelboat up the Missouri River, traveling as far as Fort McKenzie, Montana. Wintering at the Mandan village near Fort Clark, they returned downriver the following spring, having spent over a year amongst the tribes of the Upper Missouri. Karl Bodmer created 427 watercolors and a volume of sketches during the yearlong trek, eighty- two of which were later published as illustrations in Prince Maximilian’s book. The portraits and sketches Bodmer did in America are the high point of his distinguished career. Perhaps more significantly, the plates made from his sketches were the earliest visual accounts of the west to reach the general public.

Sponsored in part by Nellie and Robert Gipson.

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