Karl Bodmer depicted Native Americans with detailed accuracy

Karl Bodmer’s aquatint ‘Mato-Tope, a Mandan chief,’ earned $7,000 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2022. Image courtesy of Garth’s Auction Inc. and LiveAuctioneers.
Karl Bodmer’s aquatint ‘Mato-Tope, a Mandan chief,’ earned $7,000 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2022. Image courtesy of Garth’s Auction Inc. and LiveAuctioneers.
Karl Bodmer’s aquatint ‘Mato-Tope, a Mandan chief,’ earned $7,000 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2022. Image courtesy of Garth’s Auction Inc. and LiveAuctioneers.

NEW YORK  — In the 1800s, Karl Bodmer (Swiss, 1809-1893) was one of a handful of artists drawn to the western United States to capture on paper the indigenous people who called these majestic and untamed lands home. As the area was just beginning to be settled by Euro-American explorers, the West was a source of fascination. Artists such as Bodmer undertook long journeys to document and preserve it even as it was changing.

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Met exhibition features Karl Bodmer’s Native North American portraits

Karl Bodmer, Hotokáneheh, Piegan Blackfoot Man, 1833. Watercolor and graphite on paper, 11 15/16 x 17 1/16 in, 1986.49.288, Joslyn Art Museum, Gift of the Enron Art Foundation, 1986

NEW YORK – Karl Bodmer: North American Portraits, an exhibition on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from April 5 through July 25, 2021, will present a compelling visual response to Native North America through watercolors created in the 1830s by the Swiss draftsman Karl Bodmer (1809–1893). Bodmer was one of the most accomplished and prolific European artists to travel the Missouri River, and one of the first to document both the landscapes of the American interior and its Indigenous peoples. Continue reading