Tableau #13 is one of Swiss artist Karl Bodmer’s most recognized paintings and prints. Executed during the winter of 1833-1834 at Ft. Clark in present day N. Dakota it is of the Mandan chief, Mato-Tope, or Four Bears. This full-length portrait is still one of the most iconic images representing the early west. During their return to St. Louis after an expedition to the upper reaches of the Missouri River, Maximilian Alexander Philipp Prince of Weid- Neuwied and his hired artist, Johann Karl Bodmer spent the winter at Ft. Clark, a fur trade outpost set high on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. This American Fur Trade fort, managed by James Kipp was the hub of trade for the Mandan, Hidatsa and other northern Missouri tribes. The two Europeans were housed in small rooms set against the south wall of the fort. Constructed of whitewashed logs, the rooms were poorly chinked and were often bitterly cold. Throughout the winter the Prince and Bodmer had a steady stream of visitors and many of the portraits that Bodmer created may have been painted and sketched in these rooms. This scene is of Bodmer doing a preliminary watercolor study of the great chief while Maximilian begins a pencil sketch. Other Mandan crowd the room to watch the artist at work. Mato-Tope was a frequent visitor and companion to the Prince and artist. His accomplishments as a warrior and statesman impressed both men and this portrait demonstrates the magnificence of a full dressed Mandan warrior. The marks and stylized blood drops on his war shirt indicate wounds received in combat and the wooden knife in his headdress replicates the one he wrestled from a Cheyenne warrior in combat, then used to slay him. The lance he’s holding was used to kill the Arikara warrior who had slain Mato-Tope’s brother and the Arikara’s scalp dangles just below the blade. As a token of friendship Bodmer made gifts of paper, pencils and paints to the great chief. In November, 1833, as Prince Maximilian debarked from the steamboat 'Assiniboine' at Ft. Clark, he was described by Alexander Culbertson as 'of medium height, rather slender, sans teeth, passionately fond of his pipe, unostentatious, and speaking very broken English. His favorite dress was a white slouch hat, a black velvet coat, rather rusty from long service, and probably the greasiest pair of trousers that ever encased princely legs.' Maximilian had been sick that winter and I’ve shown him wearing his velvet coat and he’s partially wrapped in a buffalo robe to ward off the chill. Prince Maximilian had acted as his own artist on an earlier expedition through Brazil but was an amateur and the drawings he created were disappointing to him. As his planning for the North American expedition took shape he contracted with Karl Bodmer, an accomplished landscape painter working near the Prince’s home in the Rhine Valley. The two-year contract allowed Bodmer to reproduce and exhibit prints from all the artwork created on the expedition but the Price retained ownership of the originals. A tall, lean man, Karl Bodmer was expected to not only paint the landscapes through which they traveled, but most importantly record portraits and the culture of the native tribes they encountered along the way. In my painting Bodmer is shown with commonly used artists materials as he works on this color sketch. The style of brushes, palette and papers still remain virtually unchanged today after 175 years. Bodmer’s works of art from this expedition are still recognized as the most comprehensive, artistic and accurate depictions of the early cultures of many North American tribes.