In 1832 the Swiss-French painter Karl Bodmer joined an expedition, led by the naturalist Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, to record the landscape and indigenous peoples of the American West. The group arrived in Boston on July 4th, 1832, reaching New Harmony, Indiana in October, where they were delayed by illness. In April, 1833 they embarked upon the Missouri River at St. Louis, penetrating as far as Fort McKenzie, Montana; the westernmost establishment of the American Fur Company on the upper Missouri. Along the way, they encountered numerous Native American tribes, including the Omaha, Sioux, Assiniboin, Pickann, Mandan and Minatarre Indians.
A member of the French Barbizon school, Bodmer’s artistry rivaled that of his predecessor, George Catlin. The 81 aquatints he produced for Prince Maximilian were published in his book, Travels in the Interior of North America, 1832-1834, of which there are only twenty original editions known in the United States.