Karl Bodmer - Misc. Characters

Karl Bodmer 1809-1893

In 1833, at the age of 24, Swiss-born artist Karl Bodmer traveled 500 miles along the wild and untamed Missouri River with the German anthropologist Prince Maximilian. Those on this small expedition spent an extraordinary year sketching, painting and writing about the daily life and ceremonies of the many diverse Plains Indian tribes living along the Missouri. Upon their return to Europe, the team spent the next few years turning Bodmer's exquisite watercolors and Maximilian's monumental narrative into a portfolio of aquatints and text to be translated into German, French and English. The portfolios were published in two versions, one a beautiful hand-colored set and a second in black and white. Today, the unprecedented work of Maximilian and Bodmer has become the most important early documentation of such tribes as the Mandan, Cree, Sioux, Blackfoot, Minnetaree, Assiniboin and Gros Ventres.

The pencil sketch shown here of Karl Bodmer, dated 1850, is signed by the artist, Jean-François Millet. Permission and credit:

S. P. Avery Collection
Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of
Art, Prints and Photographs
The New York Public Library
Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations