The Philadelphia Print Shop has one of the most extensive selections on antique prints of Native Americans available anywhere. From life-portraits of individual chiefs, warriors and women to first-hand depictions of typical events in the lives of the American Indians, these rare images are both dramatically decorative and historically fascinating.
| Selection of prints|
of Native Americans
| Index to names of|
| Theodor De Bry
| J. O. Lewis|
|McKenney & Hall folio||McKenney & Hall octavo|
|George Catlin||Karl Bodmer|
|Seth Eastman|| Rudolf Cronau|
(portraits & western views)
| Edward S. Curtis|
North American Indian
|Images from illustrated newspapers|
|Maps of Indian Tribes|| Portraits of natives of
of other parts of the world
|The American West||Reference books|
A rare series of lovely and fascinating images of American Indians from a French history of the world by Jules Dufay. This plate came from the American volume of Dufay's Historie des Voyages, which was an account of the 'wars, social mores, products and history of different parts of the world. Each image is based to some extent on reality, but with some interesting aspects clearly not accurate. These are an early European attempt to better understand Native Americans.
A series depicting events in America, mostly within the United States in the early years. $350 each
James Queen. "Indian Mode of Travelling." From P.J. De Smet's Letters and Sketches: With a Narrative of a Year's Residence Among the Indian Tribes of the Rocky Mountains. Philadelphia: M. Fithian, 1843. Lithograph by P.S. Duval. 3 1/4 x 5 3/4. Slight wear at top left edge. Else, very good condition. Denver.
An early and quite accurate view of an Indian tribe on the move in the American West. From De Smet's account of his trip to the Rocky Mountains. $75
Seth Eastman. "Marriage Custom of the Indians." From Ornaments of Memory--Beauties of History, Romance and Poetry. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1854. Engraving by Charles Burt. 5 5/8 x 7 5/8. Very good condition. Denver.
Seth Eastman was a soldier who spent many years in the American west, particularly working as an artist to document Native Americas for the U.S. government and for private purposes. His drawings provide some of the best first hand images of Indians in the west before the Civil War. $175
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"Indiens chassant le Bison," "Trappeur," and "Indiens devant leur Camp." From Jean Baptiste Auguste Leloir's Le Monde en Estampes: Types et Costumes des Principaux Peuples de l'Univers. Paris, ca. 1860. 6 1/4 x 9. Original hand color. Lithograph by Jean-Adolphe Bocquin. Printed by Joseph LeMercier. Very good condition. Denver.
During the nineteenth century as the world became better known to them, Europeans were fascinated by the differences in peoples and cultures around globe. A number of publications were produced including illustrations showing these "exotic" people with their characteristic dress. This is a print showing Native Americans from one rare such publication. In the background at left is shown an illustration of an Indian buffalo hunt, a popular theme of prints at the time, but the vignette at right is unusual in that it is one of the few nineteenth century prints showing not only Indians, but a Mountain fur trapper, showing trading with three men near their teepees. $175
"Aborigines of North America." From The Comprehensive Atlas and Geography of the World. London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh: Blackie & Son, 1886. Tinted lithograph. 5 x 8, with decorative borders. Very good condition. Denver.
An attractive prints from a British atlas, from the late nineteenth century, which included a number of plates showing the "Race of Mankind." This print, based on mostly on drawing by Karl Bodmer, shows men and women from the Iroquois, Assineboin, Crow, Pawnee and Dakotah or Sioux tribes. Issued at a time when Europeans were fascinated by the American West, and at a time when many pictures disseminated there were quite inaccurate, these images would have provided a more accurate, though somewhat dated, documentation of the Native Americans. $150
"Discovery Dance." Ca. 1840. Wood engraving. 3 1/4 x 5 1/2. Very good condition. Denver.
A crude, but interesting engraving of the Discovery Dance. $40
George Catlin. "Buffalo Hunt, Chase." Plate 7. From Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio. London: G. Catlin, 1844. Folio; 12 1/4 x 18 1/2. Lithograph drawn by McGahey and printed by Day & Hague. Full original hand color. Very good condition.
The prints of George Catlin mark a poignant and heroic moment in the history of American art and culture. Setting out to chronicle and immortalize Indian culture, Catlin's career was one of mid-19th century pioneer adventure and spirit colored by the ideal of the 'noble savage' in his pristine environment. In 1830 he went out to St. Louis and from there traveled extensively for several years to Indian villages along the Platte and Missouri rivers and then later to tribes throughout the mid and far west. The result was some 500 paintings and one of the most significant chronicles of Indian life and culture ever produced. The prints Catlin later published from his paintings, with their fascinating and important subjects, as well as their rich color, detail and artistic worth, are a noble legacy from Catlin's memorable career. During his sojourn in the west, Catlin spent much time recording the customs of the Native Americans, including their hunting techniques. This image shows the action of a buffalo hunt in graphic detail. One Indian, whose horse seems to have been knocked over by a dying buffalo, stands and shoots his arrow at another beast, while nearby a mounted hunter sends an arrow true into the side of a massive bull. A third figure in the foreground shows a brave stepping from his galloping mount, about to be gored by a buffalo, onto the back of another thundering beast. The action, detail of costume and weapons, makes this print a terrific combination of ethnological artifact and aesthetic masterpiece. $5,750
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Karl Bodmer. "Abdih- Hiddisch. A Minatarre Chief." Tab. 24. From Travels In the Interior of North America in the Years 1832 to 1834. London: Ackermann and Company, 1839-1843. 10 x 12 1/2. Aquatint. Full hand color. Very good condition. Denver.
Karl Bodmer, (1809-1893), is considered by many to be the greatest 19th-century artist to have produced prints of the American west. Bodmer and his patron, Prince Maximilian of Wied, came to America from Germany in 1832. With Bodmer in charge of the pictorial documentary, Prince Maximilian, an experienced and respected traveler and naturalist, set out 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. This picture volume is now regarded as one of the most comprehensive and memorable visual surveys of the western territories ever made. The prints provide a rare and privileged glimpse into 19th-century America by one of the now most coveted artists of the period. This is one of Bodmer's series of portrait prints and it demonstrates the quality of all his work. $9,500
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John Mix Stanley. [On the War Path.] Detroit: Calvert Lithographing Co., 1872. Chromolithograph by Robert T. Bishop. 22 1/4 x 30. Laid on canvas, mounted on new backing board. With extensive old tears and some rubbing on right side and in upper left quadrant. Repaired and inpainted. In original frame. Ref: Peter Marzio, The Democratic Art, pp. 180f., plate 105; James Bartlett, Antiques, Sept. 1976, pp. 520-521. Denver.
An extremely rare western print after John Mix Stanley's 1871 painting "On the War Path." In 1853, Stanley was an artist for Isaac Stevens' U.S. survey for the proposed northern route of the Pacific Railroad. This print records an episode from that expedition, when the survey party met an Indian army crossing through Cadotte's Pass in the Rocky Mountains. Stanley made an on-site sketch, later producing the painting in his study back in the East.
In 1869, Stanley arranged for a German publisher to issue chromolithographs of some of his paintings. These were quite popular, but the Franco-Prussian War soon made this arrangement difficult to continue. Thus Stanley, who was then living in Detroit, looked to a local firm, the Calvert Lithographing Company, to produce the chromolithograph of "On the War Path." The print this firm produced was larger and of much higher quality than the German prints, being made with twenty lithographic stones--twice as many as the Germans used. The print was extensively promoted, with newspaper reviews and an elaborate brochure, but Stanley's death in April of 1872 and a disastrous fire in a building next to the Calvert warehouse resulted in a very small production of the print. The fire resulted in the lithographic stones being damaged beyond repair after only a short run. One newspaper account said 300 prints were run off in the first printing, but it appears only 100 were produced, for in an 1897 interview, Thomas Calvert said only that many had been printed before the fire.
The print is best example of Stanley's work and one of the best American chromolithographs of the late nineteenth century. The image shows the Indian tribe crossing the pass, with the majesty of the Rockies beautifully rendered. Chromolithography was often used to imitate the texture and detail of an oil, and this print of the medium shows how closely this could be done. A very rare example of a most desirable print. $6,800
Astley David Middleton Cooper. "Burning Arrow." Boston: Tabor Prang, 1904. 19 1/2 x 25 1/2. Chromolithograph. With original, decorative frame and brass plaque. Very good condition. Denver.
A.D.M. Cooper (1856-1924) is known for his paintings of American Indians, buffalo herds and frontiersmen. Unfortunately, Cooper and his work are not as well known today. Cooper who had a great zest for life was born in St. Louis. His father was a prominent Physician and his mother was a grand niece of the Louisiana Territory explorer William Clark. Cooper's parents were good friends with George Catlin and young Cooper was enthralled by the stories and paintings of Catlin.
Cooper attended Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied portraiture and landscape drawing. In 1876 he traveled through the West living with various Indian tribes and seeing the tragedy of the Indian Wars. Cooper for a brief time was also an illustrator for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. In 1880 he moved to San Francisco and began a successful but furious painting schedule completing more than a thousand paintings in his life time. In a few years his paintings were being marketed throughout the U.S. and Europe. Three years later Cooper moved south to San Jose. Cooper's paintings were often dark and moody but filled with action and drama. He not only depicted Western genre scenes but included classical themes, religious and historical depictions, portraits, and landscapes. Cooper died in 1924, after a long battle with tuberculosis. A few of Cooper's paintings can be seen in the San Jose area.
This print, "Burning Arrow" is one of Cooper's most famous paintings which he did in 1900. It depicts a moonlight night with a group of Indians being illuminated by a large signal fire. Above the fire, on a large boulder, is a lone Indian having just shot a burning arrow into the night sky to signal another group of Indians in the far distance indicated by another signal fire. A wonderful retrospective representation of the long gone American West. $2,100
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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. November 4, 2013