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Edward S. Curtis: One Hundred Masterworks

February 20th – May 29th, 2016
Palm Springs Art Museum, Clayes III Wing

Beginning in 1900, Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) set out on a monumental quest to create an unprecedented, comprehensive record of the Indians of North American. The culmination of his 30-year project led to his magnum opus, The North American Indian, a twenty-volume, twenty-portfolio set of handmade books containing a selection of over 2,200 original photographs. Today this work stands as a landmark in the history of photography, book publishing, ethnography, and the history of the American West, producing an art historical record of enormous and irreplaceable importance.

Edward S. Curtis, Watching the Dancers, 1906, photogravure, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, Self Portrait, 1899, Photogravure, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, Untitled (Moki Girl with Jar), 1900, platinum print, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, Chief Joseph - Nez Perce, 1903, photogravure, Edward S. Curtis, Untitled (Moki Girl with Jar), 1900, platinum print, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, Canyon de Chelly - Navajo, 1904, photogravure, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, At the Old Well - Acoma, 1904, photogravure, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, An Oasis in the Badlands, 1905, photogravure, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, Geronimo - Apache, 1905, platinum print, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, The Piki Maker, 1906, vintage goldtone, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, Qahatika Girl, 1907, photogravure, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, Shot in the Hand - Apsaroke, 1908, photogravure, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, Waiting in the Forest - Cheyenne, 1910, photogravure, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, Untitled (Raven-ma) - Qagyuhl, 1914, gelatin silver, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection
Edward S. Curtis, A Mono Home, 1924, photogravure, courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection

Beginning in 1900, Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) set out on a monumental quest to create an unprecedented, comprehensive record of the Indians of North American. The culmination of his 30-year project led to his magnum opusThe North American Indian, a twenty-volume, twenty-portfolio set of handmade books containing a selection of over 2,200 original photographs. Today this work stands as a landmark in the history of photography, book publishing, ethnography, and the history of the American West, producing an art historical record of enormous and irreplaceable importance.

One Hundred Masterworks presents an extraordinary selection of vintage photographs by Curtis that highlights both iconic and previously little known images, revealing the aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual qualities, which are the cornerstone of his art. It showcases seven different photographic print mediums including photogravure, platinum, goldtone (orotone), toned and un-toned gelatin silver, cyanotype, and gold-toned printing-out paper prints. Arranged thematically, the exhibition includes a selection of Curtis’ most compelling and rare photographs that look beyond the documentary nature of his work focusing on his aesthetic and technical contributions to the art of photography.

Accompanying the exhibition is a 184-page catalogue published by Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography in association with Delmonico Books/Prestel with essays by curator Christopher Cardozo and contributions by A.D. Coleman, Louise Erdrich, Eric J. Jolly, and Michael Charles Tobias. The catalogue is available for purchase at the Museum Store.

This exhibition has been organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis/New York City/Paris/Lausanne, in collaboration with the Palm Springs Art Museum.

The Palm Springs showing is funded in part by the museum’s Western Art Council and its Gold Sponsors Donna MacMillan and Harold Matzner; Mary Ingebrand-Pohlad; with support from Carol and Jim Egan, Terra Foundation for American Art through Board Member Gloria Scoby, Luc Bernard and Mark Prior, and the museum’s Photography Collection Council. 

Media Sponsor: The Desert Sun

 

Exhibition Season Sponsors: Dorothy C. Meyerman and Marion and Bob Rosenthal

 

 

Image: Edward S. Curtis, Watching the Dancers, 1906, photogravure,courtesy of the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection