Watercolors of the early West.

In 1983 and ’34, a Swiss painter and a German prince journeyed from St. Louis up the Missouri River to what is now Montana. They returned with a compelling record of the early West. Two exhibits celebrating the 150th anniversary of that journey open this month in San Francisco.

“Views of a Vanishing Frontier: Karl Bodmer Watercolors” will run from September 8 through November 18 at the M.H. de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. More than a hundred watercolors and drawings include portraits of proud Indians and wilderness scenes showing herds of elk and buffalo. Also on view will be a wide variety of Indian artifacts collected by Prince Maximilian zu Wied, the expedition’s German leader. Hours are 10 to 5 Wednesdays through Sundays; admission is $2 for adults, 50 cents for ages 5 to 17 and seniors.

“Karl Bodmer Prints” will run concurrently at the recently opened W. Graham Arader III Gallery, at 560 Sutter Street, Suite 201. The complete folio of Bodmer’s aquatints from the expidition will be there: 81 prints priced from $700 to more than $30,000. Gallery hours are 9:30 to 5:30 Mondays through Saturdays, and Sunday evenings by appointment.

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