(London: Alecto Historical Editions, 1991). 765 x 620 mm. (30 1/8 x 24 1/2"). No. 23 OF 125 COPIES.
Loose as issued in five buckram folders inside a cloth solander box, paper labels. WITH 81 HAND-FINISHED COLOR PLATES, heightened with gum arabic. One corner of the (heavy) box very expertly repaired, two-inch closed internal tear to title sheet seamlessly mended, other very minor signs of use to the box, but the portfolios and their plates as new, even the tissues guards in pristine condition.
Printed using the original engraved plates for "Travels in the Interior of North America in the Years 1832-34," this is a splendidly produced facsimile of a monumental work on the American West that offers a very attractive alternative to the prohibitively expensive original. Swiss artist Karl Bodmer (1809-93) was working as a landscape illustrator when he was hired by the Prussian naturalist Prince Maximilian of Wied for an expedition to examine and describe the wildlife and Indian tribes of the American West. The men travelled up the Missouri River from Saint Louis to Montana over a 13-month period, and Bodmer documented the landscape and people of the region in great detail. In the words of the website of the National Agricultural Library, "although Maximilian and Bodmer were not the first to explore the American West and record their observations, they were the first team combining a trained, dedicated scientist with an especially skilled illustrator, whose collaboration resulted in a work of unique historical, scientific, and aesthetic importance." According to ANB, "for over a century Bodmer's aquatints have been regarded as one of the most significant contributions to the iconography of the western frontier." In his portraits of American Indians, Bodmer "achieved a level of accuracy and sensitivity that no other artist of the American frontier has ever surpassed. His work is particularly valuable for its detailed rendition of the Indians' ornamentation, attire, and implements. Indeed, Bodmer was far superior to his better-known contemporary George Catlin, whose work lacks the Swiss artist's fidelity and meticulous attention to detail." In addition to depictions of native Americans, the "Travels" (the work was also produced in German and French) contains a number of memorable images of flora and fauna, terrain, frontiersmen, steamboats, and more. After the printing of the original editions, the location of the plates remained unknown until their rediscovery at Castle Wied in the 1950s; they eventually ended up being donated to the Omaha Joslyn Art Museum, which then collaborated with Alecto Historical Editions in London on the present spectacular reproduction. In an effort to achieve thoroughgoing authenticity, the work on our illustrations was done using the 19th century poupée printing technique, a laborious and exacting method involving the application by hand of multiple colors on the same plate. Copies of the original editions--which seldom appear in appealing condition--are now extravagantly expensive, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. And copies of the present facsimile simply do not appear (this is the only copy we could trace that was not sold directly to institutions at the time of production). The original price of the present facsimile in 1991 was $85,000. (ST12932)
Add to Cart Price: $45,000.00
PJP Catalog: 67.080