Peter Rindisbacher

1806 - 1834
Origin: Switzerland
Born: April 12, 1806, Valley of the Emme River, Berne, Switzerland
Died: August 12, 1834, St. Louis, Missouri

Peter Rindisbacher is considered the first pioneer artist of the Canadian and American West, preceeding Karl Bodmer, George Catlin, and others in the Mississippi and Missouri River Valleys by more than a decade. He was born in Switzerland and received his only art training from the Swiss painter, Jacob S. Weibel, a member of the school of Bernese miniature painters, while on vacation to the Swiss Alps along the Italian border. In 1821, his father signed up with a recruiter for the Earl of Selkirk's Red River Colony in Canada. During this time, the Selkirk settlement was along active fur trade routes but was still within hostile Indian territory as well as extremely harsh climate conditions. The 157 Swiss emigrants who made the journey from Europe to Hudson Bay and then onto the Red River Colony in present-day Manitoba were misinformed about the dangers of the expedition and the hardships that awaited them upon their arrival. During the sea voyage, Rindisbacher sketched icebergs and polar bears, and as they arrived at Resolution Island, he began sketching the Eskimos.

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Hunting the Buffalo
1836, Hand-Colored Lithograph
Peter Rindisbacher
Switzerland, 1806 - 1834