BODMER, Karl (1809-1893)
Forest Scene on the Tobihanna; Alleghany Mountains
[Vig. 4] Paris, Coblenz and London: [1839-1842]. Hand-coloured aquatint engraving by L. Weber after Bodmer. Sheet size: 17 1/8 x 24 1/4 inches. Plate mark: 9 x 12 1/8 inches.
This beautiful tranquil scene was sketched by Bodmer during the carriage trip from Bethlehem to Mauch Chunk. Leaving on the 23 August 1832 they passed the Delaware Water Gap in the afternoon arriving at Dutotsburgh that evening. They explored the area the following day before leaving on the morning of the 25th, arriving at Sach's public house that evening. The present view is from a sketch that Bodmer made on the afternoon of the 27 August, Maximilian noted in his journal that the artist waded backwards and forwards across the stream until he found exactly the right spot from which to sketch the bridge. The travellers subsequently continued on their journey, reaching Mauch Chunk on the evening of 30 August.
Karl Bodmer's images show great versatility and technical virtuosity and give us a uniquely accomplished and detailed picture of a previously little understood (and soon to vanish) way of life. Swiss-born Bodmer was engaged by Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied (1782-1867) specifically to provide a record of his travels in North America, principally among the Plains Indians. In the company of David Dreidoppel (Prince Maximilian's servant and hunting companion), their travels in North America were to last from 1832 to 1834. They arrived in Boston in July 1832, traveled on to Philadelphia, where they stayed with Napoleon Bonaparte's elder brother Joseph. From here they headed west across Pennsylvania across the Alleghenies to Pittsburgh and the Ohio country, visiting all the important German settlements en route. Their most important stop on their route west was at the utopian colony of New Harmony in Indiana. The Prince spent five months there in the company of some of the country's leading scientific men, and studying all the relevant literature on backcountry America. On 24 March 1833 the party reached St. Louis, Missouri, and the start of the journey into Indian country.
Graff 4648; Howes M443a; Pilling 2521; Sabin 47014; Wagner-Camp 76:1.