Tower Rock View of the Mississippi
A Swiss-French painter, Bodmer was commissioned by the German explorer Prince Maximilian of Wied to serve as an artist to document his expedition of the Missouri River. Extending from 1832 to 1834, theirs was the first expeditionary trip in the American West to include a trained scientist and professional artist. Their important discoveries were later published as "Travels in the Interior of North America", reflecting Americans’ fascination with a visual record of unknown territories and indigenous peoples. This print depicts the distinctive geographic landmark in the Mississippi River made famous by Native American legends and tales by explorers. The dramatic rock formation is rendered in the style of the Hudson River School, which stressed the pristine grandeur of American nature. However, Bodmer also captures the economic realities of westward expansion, depicting the river’s early development as a commercial waterway bustling with boats.