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Carl Bodmer Art

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Carl Bodmer (1809-1893) was born in Zurich. He produced one of the most beautiful and important 19th century records of the American West. He began studying under his artist, uncle Johann Jakob Meier at age 13. Known for detail and uncanny accuracy, Bodmer uniquely captured the Native American culture through his depictions and portraits of genre ceremonies and scenes. He also recorded North America's vast western territories in their pristine, untouched beauty. In 1832, Bodmer signed on to accompany Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied on his Missouri River Expedition. Prince was German ethnologist, explorer, and naturalist. Bodmer’s first hand watercolor sketches were completed between 1832 and 1834 during the expedition up the Missouri River. The expedition resulted in the publication of journals of Prince incorporating a picture atlas of 81 spectacular naturalistic aquatint plates that were based on Bodmer's illustrations. The aquatints remain an important American snapshot and traveloge of upper Plains Indian culture before it had been ravaged by small pox. Bodmer returned to Germany with Prince Maximilian at the conclusion of the expedition and oversaw the production of the engravings that illustrated the travel atlas. Most of his original watercolors are held in Omaha, Nebraska by the Joslyn Art Museum. For instance, the largest of three known collections of Bodmer's prints, drawings, and watercolors, are housed in the Joslyn Art Museum. Framed Carl Bodmer art are found in many other collections all over the world. In the United States, he’s best known as a painter who best captured the 19th century American West with extremely accurate depictions of its inhabitants, while in Germany he is known for his drawings, watercolors and aquatints of landscapes and cities of the Lahn, Mosel, and Rhine rivers.
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