Karl Bodmer, (1809-1893), is considered by many authorities 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 finest visual surveys of the western territories ever made. Soon after Prince Maximilian and Bodmer's arrival in the United States, the party toured the Eastern United States. As the prince collected biological specimens, Bodmer would illustrate the countryside and occasionally, the specimens themselves. This is Bodmer's image of the penitentiary at Pittsburgh. $925
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Sherman Day. "Pittsburg, From The Northwest." From Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: George W. Gorton 1843. 3 1/4 x 6 5/8. Wood engraving. Very good condition. Panorama of Pittsburgh: 11.
During the middle of the nineteenth century, Pennsylvania's economy experienced new, state-wide growth, sparking new interest in previously lesser-known areas of the state. Prompting travel to new communities, this economic growth also sparked publication of new books to satisfy curiosity about all parts of Pennsylvania. One of the most important such works, Sherman Day's Historical Collections is noted for its individual county histories, well-illustrated with charming wood-engravings, including this wonderful scene of Pittsburgh. The scene is the first print to emphasize Pittsburgh's industry. The city is shown from a viewpoint on the south bank of the Ohio River below the Point. Good detail of the terrain, bridges, and buildings is included, but the most noticeable features are the dark columns of smoke spewing forth from Pittsburgh's many smokestacks. This emphasis was quite intentional, for Day was purposely promoting Pennsylvania's industry. He gave these instructions to the engraver, "Please give to the smoke [of Pittsburgh] a graceful easy appearance. The buildings in the foreground are very dark being constantly exposed to smoke." $60
"Beaver Heights. (Near Pittsburgh on the Ohio River.)" From The Ladies' Repository: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted To Literature and Religion. Cincinnati: May 1854. Octavo. Steel engraving. Very good condition.
Another view of western Pennsylvania from Ladies' Repository. This one was issued a year after the Pittsburgh print (cf. above) and it shows the Beaver River near to where it runs into the Ohio River. $110
Charles Stanley Reinhart. "Views about Pittsburg, Pennsylvania." From Harper's Weekly. New York, February 18, 1871. Wood engraving. Double page; 11 1/2 x 20 1/4. Very good condition. Panorama of Pittsburgh: 126.
Harper's Weekly remains one of the best sources for lively, informative images of 19th-century America. Each issue was filled with popular genre and detailed historical prints through which much of the country got its visual information about their world. Views of American cities were amongst the most popular of prints of the period, and this is a particularly nice example of that genre. It is a collage of images of Pittsburgh at a time great industrial growth and prosperity. The central image shows Pittsburgh from across the Allegheny River while the surrounding vignettes focus primarily on various industries, such as "Blowing Glass," "Melting Steel" and a "Coal flotilla on the Ohio River." $125
Theo. R. Davis. "The Pittsburg Flood." From Harper's Weekly. New York: August 14, 1874. Wood engraving. Double page; 12 3/4 x 20 1/2. Very good condition. Panorama of Pittsburgh: 149.
A three part image showing the great 1874 flood. Top third shows "The Upper Portion of Alleghany City, Showing Butcher's Run and Spring Garden Run." The bottom third includes two images: "The Flood in O'Hara Street," and "The Search For the Dead." $125
S. Lee Bear. (c. 1900-1971) "Trinity Cathedral." [Pittsburgh] 1951. 10 7/8 x 8 7/8. Etching. Signed in pencil. Signed and dated in plate. $350
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