Charles Beyer’s View of the Stone Walls on the Upper Missouri

Meet the Artists of Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture

A painting of a mountain ledge.

After Karl Bodmer, Charles Beyer, engraver, Friedrich Salathé, engraver, View of the Stone Walls on the Upper Missouri, 1840, hand-colored aquatint, plate mark: 15 7/8 x 20 3/4 in., image: 11 13/16 x 17 ¼ in., Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, Gift of the Enron Art Foundation, 1986.49.542.41, Photograph © Bruce M. White, 2019.

About this Artwork

The eroded limestone cliffs along the upper Missouri River, called hoodoos, impressed Bodmer, though Prince Maximilian found them austere and forbidding. Bodmer’s accomplished landscapes form a significant part of the record of his travels with Prince Max. Max described his confusion when he first saw the rock formations, thinking that they were “two white mountain castles . . . [that] when seen from a distance, so perfectly resembled buildings raised by art, that we were deceived by them, till we were assured of our error.” Bodmer made sure the bighorn sheep they saw on the slopes were a prominent part of his composition.