Paris: Bertauts, 1850. First Edition. Lithograph (210 x 163 mm; 8.25" x 6.25") by Eugene LeRoux (1807-1863) after an original design by Karl Bodmer, one of which is on Chine applique, on large folio sheet (447 x 317 mm; 17.5" x 12.25"). Margins with foxing, images in excellent state. Very good. Item #3434
FIRST APPEARANCE OF THESE TWO RARE BODMER LITHOGRAPHS, ONE OF WHICH IS A PROOF IMPRESSION ON CHINE APPLIQUE. These images were NOT published in the well known "Voyage dans l’intérieur de l’Amérique du Nord pendant les années 1832-1834" series.
Few examples of these lithographs survive in private ownership. The only auction record we have been able to locate is Ader, Paris, 15 Dec. 2020 (lot 63), being a bound album of 271 (!) lithographs -- all proof impressions on Chine, as here -- and of the same size as ours. That album was bound for Edouard Pierre, a Parisian papermaker located on the rue Vivienne, who specialized in creating proofs. It is possible that Pierre was in some way involved in creating the present proof impression.
THESE BODMER IMAGES ARE RARELY SEEN, and are basically known only to specialists. Ruud places them in his Appendix D.3, "Images not related to the Atlas tableaux and vignettes but are based on expedition material."
1. "Tombeaux des indiens sioux." A startling depiction of the remains of a Sioux Indian, enshrouded and placed in a burial scaffold positioned about 10 feet off the ground in a tree. A woman in mourning walks away from the viewer, while two other women mourners are seated at the foot of the tree. Ruud was apparently unaware of the fact that LeRoux was the lithographer, and that Bertauts was the publisher.
2. PROOF ON CHINE APPLIQUE. Untitled. At the foot of our lithograph is the pencil inscription: "Chef Indien." Ruud names this lithograph: "Unidentified Piegan Man" -- see Wood, p. 134 and plate 10 for a detailed description of this lithograph. NB: the Newberry example is an ordinary lithograph (i.e. not a proof on Chine), mounted on cardboard which bears the words "J. Geruzet, edit. a Bruxelles."
Karl Bodmer (1809-1893) was a celebrated Swiss painter, graphic designer, lithographer, and illustrator. As a young man, he accompanied Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied to North America on an expedition that was to last 28 months (1832-1834). During this period they followed rivers through Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi. Bodmer painted numerous watercolors which shaped the image of Native Americans that Europeans and Americans alike had of Native Americans. Today Bodmer's lithographs continue to be an important source of information on the costumes, weapons, tools, and manners of Native North Americans. The quality and accuracy of Bodmer's images are arresting, and even today his illustrations are regarded as valuable documentary sources on the Plains Indians.
PROVENANCE: Christie's Canada / Montreal Book Auctions, 22-23 April 1970, lot 133. From the Dorothy Sloan Collection of Western Americana.
LITERATURE: Karl Bodmer's North American Prints (ed. Brandon K. Ruud). Omaha: Joslyn Art Museum, 2004, pp. 352-353 with reproductions of both images. W. Raymond Wood, Karl Bodmer's Studio Art: The Newberry Library Bodmer Collection, 2002.