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|
| Rudolf Cronau|
(portraits & western views)
| Portraits of natives of|
of other parts of the world
|Reference books||Edward S. Curtis photographs|
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
Karl Bodmer. "Mato-Tope." Tab. 14. From Travels In the Interior of North America in the Years 1832 to 1834. London: Ackermann and Company, 1839-1843. 17 x 12. Aquatint. Uncolored. Very good condition.
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. $4,800
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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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F.O.C. Darley. "Wyoming." New York: W.H. Holbrooke, 1852. Engraving by J.C. McRae. 18 1/4 x 25 1/2. Hand color. Very good condition.
A dramatic, large engraving based on F.O.C. Darley's drawing of the Wyoming Valley massacre. Darley is perhaps best known as America's first great illustrator, producing numerous images for books and magazines in the nineteenth century. He also, though, produced many historical images which were made into separate folio prints. Indeed, such was Darley's influence through his illustrations and prints that he must be seen as seminal in the forging of the American national identity. This print shows the fight on July 3, 1777 between Patriot militia and Loyalist troops supported by Indian allies in the Wyoming Valley in northern Pennsylvania. After a brief but fierce battle, the militia troops fled, only to be pursed, especially by the Indians, who killed and tortured those they could catch. This "massacre" became a rallying point for Patriots leading to retaliation in the Sullivan-Clinton campaign against the Iroquois in 1779. This print was supposed to be "First of a Series of national Engravings" to be issued by W.H. Holbrooke, or both New York and London, but none others seem to have been issued. $1,200
Seth Eastman. "Indian Courtship." From Ornaments of Memory--Beauties of History, Romance and Poetry. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1854. Engraving by Charles Burt. 6 1/8 x 4 7/8. Very good condition.
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. $150
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Prints by Arthur Schott. From William Emory's Report of the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey. Washington:GPO, 1857; Cornelius Wendell, Printer. Ca. 8 x 5 1/2. Color lithographs. Very good condition, except as noted.
The border with Mexico first established at the end of the Mexican-American War ran along the Gila River and unfortunately the only feasible southern route for a railroad ran through Mexico. This prompted renewed negotiations, resulting in the Gadsden Purchase, acquiring for the United States enough land to run the railroad line. William H. Emory, a topographical engineer who had previously done surveying in the southwest was appointed to survey the new border. This is the report that resulted from his survey, and it includes not only the geographic information and maps required, but much other information on the natural history and physical character of these newly acquired lands. The views were drawn by Arthur Schott, a German-born scientist, artist and musician who was appointed as a "special scientific collector," to gather botanical, geological, and zoological specimens, as well as making notes and drawings of the land and its flora and fauna. One of the most important results were his first-hand images of the Indian tribes, including Seminole, Lipan Apache, Yumas, and Kiowa.
Mid-nineteenth century Indian portraits. From various publications. Ca. 1850-60. Wood engravings. Original hand color. Good condition, though some with stains.
In the mid-nineteenth century, a number of histories of the United States were issued containing wood-engraved illustrations of American views, portraits and scenes from our past. Some of these were potraits of famous Native Americans, who were beginning to be looked at as historic figures of note and interest.
From Photographs by Ranger & Austin. "The Onondaga Indians." Harper's Weekly, New York, February 17, 1872. Full page with text and five images: "The Methodist Church," "Epiphany Chapel," "Offering The Sacrifice," "Captain George," and "The Christian Family." Wood engravings. Very good condition.
A page from this famous illustrated newspaper about the the Onondaga Indians who lived south of Syracuse, New York. Interesting text and images based on photographs. $50
Curtis' Indian Photographs
Prints by Edward S. Curtis. New York, 1907-30. Photogravures in sepia. Excellent condition.
Classic photographic prints from Curtis' The North American Indian . . . edited by Frederick Webb Hodge with a foreword by Theodore Roosevelt. From 1898 to 1900 Curtis had been using photography to record American Indians of the Pacific Northwest. Encouraged by Harriman, Muir and Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan financed an expanded project that resulted in the production of 40,000 photographs. A complete set of the portfolio eventually had 2,234 photogravures; however, only 272 of the proposed 500 sets were issued. Most sets were issued on the Holland paper, but a small number were printed on vellum. Using masterful photography, Curtis was able to record that last truly itinerant tribes of Indians in North America.
Folio prints. Ca. 14 x 17 1/4 (platemarks) plus full margins.
Joseph K. Dixon. From The Vanishing Race: The last Great Council. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co. 1913. Photogravures printed in sepia. Octavo. All images approximately 4 x 6. Fine condition.
(Lewis) Rodman Wanamaker (1863 - 1928) was a son of Philadelphia department store founder John Wanamaker. In 1886 Rodman joined the family business and worked in Europe until 1896 when he was brought to New York. When John Wanamaker died in 1922 Rodman assumed control of the firm. Besides his association with the Wanamaker stores, Rodman is credited with financing the development of the first seaplane and the Professional Golfers Association.
Between 1908 and 1913, Wanamaker sponsored three expeditions to the American Indians intended to document Indian life and culture through photography, moving film, and sound recordings. Rodman supported the idea to give Native American Indians the right to citizenship. He hired Joseph K. Dixon, who worked in the education department at Wanamaker's, to photograph the Indians. Dixon took over eight thousand photographs. Most of these images were staged and appear overly sentimental, but they reflect Rodman's sympathy with the Indians. These photographs, like those of William Curtis which were published a few years earlier, are an interesting visual record of American Indians at the time.
Each print $150.
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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated June 1, 2018