AMERICA - A PROSPECTUS
edition from the original plates published by Alecto Historical Editions, London, in
association with the
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, commencing mcmxc.
A rare opportunity for 125 people to acquire a complete set of Karl Bodmer's
illustrations to Prince Maximilian of Wied Neuwied's Travels in the Interior of' North
America 1832-1834, hand-printed from the original plates.
In 1833 Prince Maximilian, a German nobleman, and Karl Bodmer, a Swiss artist, embarked
on a voyage of discovery along the Upper Missouri.
In the context of American cultural history it provided a remarkable opportunity as it
happened just before the unspoiled West was to change irrevocably.
Maximilian and Bodmer arrived just in time.
Bodmer's depiction of the settlements visited, the extraordinary landscapes observed
and his portraits of Blackfeet, Crow, Cree, Mandan, Hidatsa and Sioux Indians have never
His work is acknowledged as one of the finest records of Indian life over published.
Yet only 3 years later, many of the fierce warriors who sat patiently before Bodmer had
disappeared. Although they believed his drawings would protect them in battle, they
weren't powerful enough to protect them from white man's diseases like smallpox, which
virtually exterminated once mighty tribes like the Mandan.
Bodmer and Maximilian took their images home to Europe where Bodmer spent several years
supervising the engraving and printing of them.
They were published in Paris between 1839 and 1843 and for many years Europeans had a
truer picture of frontier America than Americans had themselves. But in 1948 Bodmer's
original plates were rediscovered by an anthropologist at Castle Wied and finally found
their way to the States and into the safekeeping of the
Joslyn Art Museum.
Now for the first time since their rediscovery a numbered edition of 125 prints
pulled from each of the 81 original plates.
They are hand-printed in London by Alecto Historical Editions, a company renowned
for its valued limited editions from the original plates of J. J. Audubon and Joseph
Banks, the botanist who accompanied Capt. Cook on his voyage to Australia.
Each engraving is printed in color 'à la poupée' with extensive hand coloring
heightened by gum arabic in the nineteenth century manner.
The complete edition of 81 plates is available at a price of $85,000.
Some single plates are available. Prices may be found in the
on-line illustrated catalogue linked to this page.
Of course many sets have already been claimed by museums throughout the nation but the
remainder are now being made available to individuals. Once the project is completed the
plates will be returned to the Joslyn where they will remain unavailable for printing
until the middle of the next century.