Edward Sheriff Curtis


Edward Sheriff Curtis


Also known as Curtis, Edward; Curtis, Edward S.; Edward S. Curtis

Nationality: American

Birth Place: Whitewater (Walworth county, Wisconsin, United States)

The North American Indian by Edward Sheriff Curtis was a vast project that spanned over twenty years yet was never fully completed. It was published between 1907 and 1930 in limited editions and was available by subscription only. Due to its limited availability and cost (around $3,000 in 1907), it received mixed reviews. Curtis's intention was to document the customs the North American Indian tribes, and with funding from J.P. Morgan, Curtis set out in 1906 to record this quickly-vanishing culture. Whether intentional or not, The North American Indian held up the American notion of otherness in regards to the indigenous North American inhabitants. Despite this, Curtis's portfolios are the most thorough and significant depictions of traditional Indian culture. What set Curtis's portfolios apart from the work of other contemporary photographers was the scope and vastness of the project. By its completion, Curtis had taken 40,000 photographic images of over eighty Indian tribes resulting in twenty volumes of approximately seventy-five photogravures. The accompanying twenty portfolios had approximately thirty-five individual photogravures in each folio. In total, there were 1,511 plates in the beautifully bound volumes and 723 plates in the portfolios, totaling 2,234 plates in all. In addition to the photography, he made a film, wrote about tribal history, and described traditional food, garments, ceremonies, and funeral customs. Curtis also made over 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of native Indian music and language, resulting in the only recorded history of such a vast and diverse race. Despite the vastness and importance of such a volume of work, Curtis went bankrupt before its completion. The profits for the project were liquidated in 1935, and the remaining material sold to a rare books dealer in Boston where it was virtually forgotten until its re-discovery in the 1970s. Today, these photogravure prints are the most regularly traded photographic prints in the photography art market.


Edward Sheriff Curtis Original Art Values Sold at Auction

EDWARD S. CURTIS (American, 1868-1952) Before the Storm, circa 1906 Orotone 11 x 14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm) Signed
EDWARD S. CURTIS (American, 1868-1952)Before the Storm, circa 1906Orotone11 x 14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm)Signed,...
Lot 74002
Auction 5153
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Edward Sheriff Curtis (American, 1868-1952) Maid of Dreams, circa 1909 Orotone 13-3/4 x 10-1/2 inches (34.9 x 26.7 cm
Edward Sheriff Curtis (American, 1868-1952)Maid of Dreams, circa 1909Orotone13-3/4 x 10-1/2 inches (34.9 x 26.7 cm...
Lot 74030
Auction 5220
Friday, November 13, 2015
EDWARD SHERIFF CURTIS (American, 1868-1952) Maid of Dreams Orotone 13-3/4 x 10-1/2 inches (34.9 x 26.7 cm) Signed in
EDWARD SHERIFF CURTIS (American, 1868-1952)Maid of DreamsOrotone13-3/4 x 10-1/2 inches (34.9 x 26.7 cm)Signed in...
Lot 74138
Auction 5176
Saturday, April 5, 2014
EDWARD S. CURTIS (American 1868-1952) The North American Indian, Large Plates (Group of 36, plus the title page, and the...
EDWARD S. CURTIS (American 1868-1952) The North American Indian, Large Plates (Group of 36, plus the title page, and the...
Lot 23372
Auction 628
Thursday, May 4, 2006
EDWARD SHERIFF CURTIS (American, 1868-1952) The Vanishing Race - Navaho, 1904 Orotone 11 x 14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm)
EDWARD SHERIFF CURTIS (American, 1868-1952)The Vanishing Race - Navaho, 1904Orotone11 x 14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm)...
Lot 74139
Auction 5176
Saturday, April 5, 2014

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