These photographs were created by Edward Curtis between 1899–1930. Christopher Cardozo Fine Art has the world’s largest inventory of both original vintage and contemporary photographs by Edward Curtis.
- P. Morgan committed to financing for five years stipulating it must be the finest publishing project ever undertaken in America.
- Done on a choice of 3 handmade, imported, etching stock.
- Done as photogravures: a marriage of photography and etching, the “Rolls Royce” of photo printing techniques.
- Teddy Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan “championed” the project. Teddy wrote the letter of introduction to Morgan.
- Sepia toned photogravures give an uncommon warmth and softness.
- Curtis used elements of the pictorialism movement in creating fine art photographs. Elements of classic composition, and light and shadow, soft focus with camera and photogravure process.
- Curtis was trusted and respected by the three great chiefs, Red Cloud, Geronimo, and Joseph enabling him to capture more candidly their tribe’s way of life. This was a key mode of introduction to other tribes. Tribes actively competed to have him come and visit their tribe first.
A Zuni Woman, 1903
This classic Curtis portrait is as unusual as it is striking. Its apparent simplicity and symmetry belie a complex and powerful image. The woman is carrying a stunning food vessel, as would be done for a feast after a ceremonial ritual. The stylized animal figures are typical of Zuni pottery, which in this case is supported on her head by a woven yucca ring. Today the Zuni are world famous for their beautiful pottery, which is collected internationally.
This vintage vellum photogravure is in overall excellent condition. There are two minor handling creases, visible only upon close inspection, not affecting the image itself. This original photogravure is printed on Japanese Vellum. This is an expensive handmade paper specifically selected by Curtis and J.P. Morgan for Curtis’ North American Indian project and noted for its smooth surface and fine resolution. The Vellum stock, produced one hundred years ago, is very resistant to contamination and damage and rarely requires conservation.
Son of the Desert – Navaho, 1904
This is widely regarded as one of Curtis’ most compelling, evocative, and sought-after portraits. This vintage tissue photogravure brings an added depth and beauty to this early, classic Curtis portrait. Curtis’ portraits of children are relatively rare, a fact which makes this portrait even more desirable. It is printed in the photogravure process on the rare “tissue” printing stock. Tissue photogravures are noted for their luminosity and fine resolution. While beautiful and delicate, tissue photogravures have great strength and durability. Because original purchasers had to pay a premium for the tissue print, it is estimated that only 10-15% of Curtis’ photogravures were made on tissue.
This original vintage photogravure is printed on handmade Japanese gampi (“tissue”) paper. This is the rarest and most expensive of the three original paper stocks chosen by Curtis and J.P. Morgan for Curtis’ North American Indian project. Only Morgan and a few others paid the substantial premium to get the rare tissue edition. Tissue prints are noted for their subtlety, luminosity, and strength. Gampi papermaking is a millennia old tradition in Japan and the art is often handed down within a family from generation to generation over hundreds of years.
Kotsuis And Hohhug, 1914
Part of the Sacred Legacy II Collection, and featured in the Sacred Legacy book.
These two masked performers in the winter dance represent huge, mythical birds. Kotsuis (the Nakoaktok equivalent of the Qagyuhl Kaloqutsuis) and Hohhuq are servitors in the house of the man-eating monster Pahpaqalanohsiwi. See page 160 in “The North American Indian” Volume X. The mandibles of these tremendous wooden masks are controlled by strings