Description

    WIFE OF HUMP and SPOTTED ELK
    c. 1955 Two prints of L.A. Huffman photographs, made from the original glass negatives by Coffrin's Old West Studio, Miles City, Montana, post-1955. Silver-gelatin prints.

    Beginning in the mid-1950s, Jack Coffrin, a Miles City, Montana photographer, leased from the heirs of L.A. Huffman the earlier photographer's archive of images and began to offer beautifully-printed copies on heavy paper from the original negatives. The two prints in this lot are from this later production.

    A large village of Miniconjou and Sans Arc Lakota under chief Spotted Eagle spent the winter of 1880-81 at Fort Keogh, now Miles City, Montana, after returning from their four-year, Canadian exile and surrendering in October. These two portraits were made by Huffman sometime during that winter, before the Sioux were transferred to Standing Rock Reservation, D.T.

    The wife of the Miniconjou Lakota chief High Backbone, called Hump, is pictured holding their newborn baby at Fort Keogh. She and the child are wrapped in a wool blanket. Beaded moccasins, a choker necklace and long earrings of dentalium shells accent her plain calico dress.

    A second portrait is of the Miniconjou Lakota leader Spotted Elk (Hehaka Gleska), also in 1880-81, who enlisted as a scout under Col. Nelson Miles, commander at Fort Keogh. He is shown wearing the coat of an army officer partially covering a bone hairpipe breastplate, and with an eagle feather in the band of his white felt hat. Big Foot, another famous Miniconjou chief who with his band were victims of the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890, early in his life had also been called "Spotted Elk." Huffman never suggested that the man he photographed was Big Foot. The incorrect attribution on this print from the Coffrin Studio was no doubt an honest error, based on a mistaken assumption concerning the duplicated name. To demonstrate that this man is not the Miniconjou "Spotted Elk" killed at Wounded Knee, consult NAA, Neg. No. gn_03315, where he may be seen with his family in 1892, more than a year after Big Foot was killed. In his later years, Spotted Elk lived on the Pine Ridge Reservation, S.D., where his portrait was painted by both Elbridge Ayer Burbank and Joseph Henry Sharp.

    Dimensions: each image 8 x 10 inches


    Estimate: $400 - $600.

    Condition Report*:

    Condition report available upon request.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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