Catalog Archive
Auction 125, Lot 865

"Ptihn-Tak-Ochata. Dance of the Mandan Women", Bodmer, Karl

Subject: Native Americans

Period: 1839-1844 (published)

Publication: Travels in the Interior of North America

Color: Hand Color

10 x 9 inches
25.4 x 22.9 cm
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Karl Bodmer, (1809-1893), is among the most important 19th-century artists of the American West and Native Americans. Bodmer accompanied the German prince, Maximilian of Wied, on an expedition up the Missouri River in 1832. With Bodmer in charge of the pictorial documentary, Prince Maximilian, an experienced and respected traveler and naturalist, set out to put together as complete a study as possible of the western territories of the United States. The result was the publication of Maximilian's journals in successive German, French, and English editions between 1839 and 1844, and with it, a picture atlas of eighty-one aquatint engravings of Bodmer's watercolor paintings. The images presented the peoples of the Manadan, Cree, Sioux, Blackfoot, Minnataree, Assiniboin, and Gros Ventres tribes. The images are beautifully rendered landscapes, portraits, and scenes of Indian life which are now regarded as one of the most comprehensive and memorable visual surveys of the western territories ever made. Bodmer's original watercolors are in the permanent collection of the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska. These aquatints are the only Bodmer images available to collectors.

In Bodmer's tradition, great care is taken to show enormous detail of costumes, weapons, head-dresses and war-paint. Vignette XXVIII shows a ceremonial dance performed by women that tells the story of a young woman who appeared dressed in white and carrying a bundle with a sacred pipe. After explaining the holy prayers, she turned into a white buffalo calf and disappeared. This dance recreates the day they received the pipe and buffalo were plentiful. The plate mark is 12.8" x 9.7" and paper is sized 18.2" x 12.4", with the original embossed stamp: "C. Bodmer" below title.


Condition: A

Lovely example with full margins and fine hand coloring.

Estimate: $3,000 - $4,000


Closed on 9/24/2008