One of Bodmer's Most Important Portraits.
A striking portrait of the Hidatsa chief Addíh-Hiddísch by Karl Bodmer, demonstrating a deft fusion of aquatint, etching, and roulette, further embellished with watercolor. This print, from the 1839-43 first edition of Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied Travels in the Interior of North America, represents an intricate study of Native American tribal leadership and dress, embodying the period's fascination with the New World's indigenous cultures.
Karl Bodmer, the Swiss painter and printmaker, is renowned for his precise, ethnographic portrayals of Native American life, largely created during his travels with German explorer Prince Maximilian. This specific portrait, depicting Addíh-Hiddísch, chief of the Hidatsa village Awachawi, is a testament to Bodmer's attentive observation. The image captures the chief adorned in European attire, an unusual occurrence given Maximilian's preference for traditional dress in Bodmer's subjects. This deviation suggests the chief's international interactions and the cultural blending these encounters inspired.
It is worth noting the discrepancy between the tableau's title and the chief's actual name, a misspelling that persists across all states of the prints. This suggests a certain cultural distance and the inherent challenges of transcribing Indigenous names into a European language framework. Yet, the tableau's rich detail, evident in the meticulous portrayal of Addíh-Hiddísch's tattoos, underscores the commitment of Bodmer and Maximilian to accurately capturing the nuances of Indigenous life.
The tableau is based on a watercolor drawing held at the Jocelyn Museum, as recorded in Ruud's Karl Bodmer's North American Prints. This portrait was brought to life by the skilled hand of French engraver René Rollet.
First of two states, without the 1841 date.