Karl Bodmer's America Revisited: Landscape Views Across Time (The Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West)

Karl Bodmer's America Revisited: Landscape Views Across Time (The Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West)

Language: English

Pages: 176

ISBN: 0806138319

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Less than thirty years after Lewis and Clark completed their epic journey, Prince Maximilian of Wied—a German naturalist—and his entourage set off on their own daring expedition across North America. Accompanying the prince on this 1832–34 voyage was Swiss artist Karl Bodmer, whose drawings and watercolors—designed to illustrate Maximilian’s journals—now rank among the great treasures of nineteenth-century American art. This lavishly illustrated book juxtaposes Bodmer’s landscape images with modern-day photographs of the same views, allowing readers to see what has changed, and what seems unchanged, since the time Maximilian and Bodmer made their storied trip up the Missouri River.

To discover how the areas Bodmer depicted have changed over time, photographer Robert M. Lindholm and anthropologist W. Raymond Wood made several trips over a period of years, from 1985 to 2002, to locate and record the same sites—all the way from Boston Harbor, where Maximilian and Bodmer began their journey, to Fort McKenzie, in modern-day western Montana. Pairing sixty-seven Bodmer works side by side with Lindholm’s photographs of the same sites, this volume uses the comparison of old and new images to reveal alterations through time—and the encroachment of a built environment—across diverse landscapes. 

Karl Bodmer’s America Revisited is at once a tribute to the artistic achievements of a premier landscape artist and a photographer who followed in his footsteps, and a valuable record of America’s ever-changing environment.

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country houses that Maximilian described in his journal, some of which are visible here, have given way to urban sprawl. Huge oceangoing vessels have replaced the small craft in the painting and the forests of masts about which Maximilian wrote, a gathering he said could be found in few other cities of the world. Stark industrial-age landmarks now obscure the groups of trees that so pleased Maximilian and are shown in this painting. 28 Lindholm/Wood BODMER book.indb 28 2/7/13 5:21 PM Entry

Rock are among the most dangerous on the river. Lindholm/Wood BODMER book.indb 75 75 2/7/13 5:28 PM Trappists Hill opposite St. Louis pencil and ink on paper, 10 × 12 1/2 in. (JAM 1986.49.226) Bodmer and Maximilian visited these Indian barrows, as the prince called them, on their return from the West. Bodmer prepared two sketches of these prehistoric mounds. Maximilian referred to Thomas Say for the figure of seventy-five mounds at the site, most of them in two long rows forming an angle

PM White Castles Montana A river as dynamic as the Missouri often changes its course, sometimes dramatically, sometimes slowly and in small measures. However, the most drastic changes to the Missouri have been wrought by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a system of major reservoirs that permanently flood thousands of square miles of land along the upper Missouri River. One such change placed much of Bodmer’s scene of the White Castles beneath the waters of Fort Peck Lake. The trees and

Lindholm/Wood BODMER book.indb 118 2/7/13 5:35 PM Hole-in-the-Wall Montana By its name alone, “Hole-in-the-Wall” conjures up visions of the romantic West, a rocky fortress where legendary outlaws took refuge from the law. The Mormons in 1879 dismantled their wagons and lowered an entire wagon train by rope, animals and all, hundreds of feet down at a place they also called “Hole-in-the-Rock.” This photograph is from a downstream-bound canoe in the middle of the river. Bodmer may have done

the Upper Missouri watercolor on paper, 12 3∕8 × 73/4 in. (JAM 1986.49.191) Citadel Rock is a magma plug analogous to the more columnar LaBarge Rock a few miles upstream. It rises vertically at the river’s edge, providing a river sentinel of unusual form. The formation is not as tall as Bodmer portrayed it in this and in another view from downriver: surely here he exaggerated its height and configuration, for nowhere else along the river has this kind of formation been so heavily eroded. Its

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