Bodmer Dog Dancer


Karl Bodmer.  “Pehriska-Ruhpa.  Moennitarri Warrior in the Costume of the Dog Danse.”  From Travels In the Interior of North America in the Years 1832 to 1834.  London: Ackermann and Company, 1843.  Folio.  Aquatint.  Full original hand color.  Very good condition.  With blind stamp. Framed.


A fine example of perhaps the greatest print of the American West.  Karl Bodmer is considered by many authorities to be the greatest nineteenth-century artist to have produced prints of the American West and this is his masterpiece.  In 1832 Bodmer came to American with his patron, Prince Maximilian of Wied, to put together as complete a study as possible of the western territories of the United States.  The result was the publication of Maximilian’s journals in successive German, French, and English editions between 1839 and 1843, and with it, a picture atlas of eighty-one aquatint plates after paintings by Bodmer.  The print is of Péhriska-Rúhpa, also called Two Ravens, a chief of the Hidstsa, one of the most sophisticated of the Indian tribes encountered by Bodmer and Maximilian.  Here he is shown in the “Dog Dance,” fully dressed in his regalia as the leader of the Dog Society of his tribe.  The richness of the culture of the American Indians on the upper Missouri River did not last long after Bodmer drew this image, for smallpox and the stress of Euro-Americans moving to the west soon wreaked havoc on the Hidstsa and other tribes of the region.