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March 13, 2021 - May 9, 2021

Photogravure material in this exhibit is on loan courtesy of the Foundation for the Preservation of American Indian Art and Culture

Born in Wisconsin in 1868 into a family of limited means, Edward S. Curtis started his career as a studio portrait photographer in Seattle, Washington. Later, thousands of his photographic portraits of American Indians were self-published as photogravures in twenty-volume sets in The North American Indian book series. Three hundred sets were completed during his life. His goal was to produce a comprehensive ethnographic record of the North American Indian beyond what anyone else had ever achieved. In 1898, while on a mountaineering trip on Mount Ranier, he had the good fortune to rescue a party of climbers which included the anthropologist and naturalist George Bird Grinnell. It was Grinnell who in 1900 invited Curtis to join him on an expedition to witness a Sun Dance ceremony in Montana, further boosting Curtis’s interest in documenting what he saw as a people’s way of life that was quickly disappearing. The Brinton Museum’s show includes 75 photogravures encompassing portraits of Crow Chiefs, Northern Cheyennes and the Lakota peoples.

 

Thank you to the Irwin Wilson Family Foundation for their generous support of the Edward Curtis exhibit.