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  Karl Bodmer, “Tab. 5. Mouth of the Fox River,” (London, Coblenz, and Paris: Ackerman & Co., 1839–1843).  
Karl Bodmer, Mouth of the Fox River

Karl Bodmer. “Tab. 5. Mouth of the Fox River (Indiana) [Embouchure du Fox River]” (London, Coblenz, and Paris: Ackermann & Co., 1839–1843). Aquatint and line engraving on Japan wove paper, black and white as issued. Bodmer blind stamp in lower margin. 28 1/2 x 31 1/2" framed. Very light foxing in lower margin. Overall, excellent condition (by sight). Handsome presentation in two-toned frame.
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Prince Maximillian’s most important stop on the journey west through the Ohio country was at the utopian colony of New Harmony, Indiana, which the party reached in the fall of 1832. During the months spent at the colony, Bodmer went almost daily to explore along the Fox and Wabash rivers looking for zoological specimens. According to his journal entry of December 6, Maximillian himself accompanied Bodmer on an excursion by boat to Fox Island at the mouth of the Fox River. That day, “Mr. Bodmer made a drawing from an interesting landscape, the estuary of the Fox River into the Wabash,” he wrote. Noting that its waters were “clear and dark green, the visible ground at the bottom completely covered with shells,” he also remarked on the lushness of the surrounding forest in which “tall, widely ramified, colossal Plantanus trees were shining snow white in the densely entangled thicket.”

Bodmer made several watercolors of the landscape around New Harmony, which later provided the basis for the present aquatint—scarce in the black-and-white issue that preserves the tonal power of the artist’s composition.

Ref.: David C. Hunt and Marsha V. Gallagher, Karl Bodmer's America (Omaha: The Joselyn Art Museum and University of Nebraska Press, 1984), pp. 80–81.

Copyright 2003, William R. Talbot