Incredible photography collection of Native American tribes and their leaders set to fetch £1.1million at auction

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STUNNING photographs showing the history of Native American tribes have gone up for auction.

One of the earliest complete versions of legendary photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis’ work is set to reach over £1 million when it goes under the hammer.

A stunning collection of photographs of Native Americans from the early 20th century is going up for sale
A stunning collection of photographs of Native Americans from the early 20th century is going up for sale
Edward.S.Curtis/Swann Galleries

The work is titled The North American Indian and spans 20 volumes.

Curtis was born on a farm in Wisconsin in 1868 and built his own camera after leaving school aged 12.

He would spend the rest of his life chronicling the American West with his photography.

Curtis particularly focused on the Native American community as he travelled.

The stunning images were taken by photographer Edward S. Curtis as he travelled around the American West
The stunning images were taken by photographer Edward S. Curtis as he travelled around the American West
Edward.S.Curtis/Swann Galleries

He was commissioned by financier J.P. Morgan after President Theodore Roosevelt introduced them.

Morgan told him to make “the handsomest collection ever produced”.

He advanced Curtis $75,000 for five years and then his son then invested another $300,000 to facilitate production.

The collection of photos taken west of Mississippi will go on sale on 4 October at Swann Galleries in New York.

This image shows a tribeswoman sitting on a traditional table
This image shows a tribeswoman sitting on a traditional table
Edward.S.Curtis/Swann Galleries
The majesty of North American nature is captured in the pictures
The majesty of North American nature is captured in the pictures
Edward.S.Curtis/Swann Galleries
J.P. Morgan commissioned the photographs advancing Curtis $75,000 after being introduced by Teddy Roosevelt
J.P. Morgan commissioned the photographs advancing Curtis $75,000 after being introduced by Teddy Roosevelt
Edward.S.Curtis/Swann Galleries
This picture shows Lúzi – a Papago woman from the Sonoran desert, in Arizona and Mexico
This picture shows Lúzi – a Papago woman from the Sonoran desert, in Arizona and Mexico
Edward.S.Curtis/Swann Galleries
This Navaho chief was also snapped by the great man
This Navaho chief was also snapped by the great man
Edward.S.Curtis/Swann Galleries

The gallery writes on its website: “Consigned by well-known bookman John King, this complete set of 20 folios on Japan tissue (featuring 722 large-format photogravures), and 20 text volumes (with more than 1500 small-format photogravures on vellum) appears to be the only version containing a treasure trove of 111 large-format photogravures signed by Curtis.”

A photogravure is an printmaking or photo-mechanical process whereby a copper plate is grained (adding a pattern to the plate) and then coated with a light-sensitive gelatin tissue which had been exposed to a film positive, and then etched, resulting in a high quality plate that can reproduce detailed continuous tones of a photograph.

This is the legendary Geronimo, a prominent leader and medicine man of the Apache who became a celebrity in old age.
This is the legendary Geronimo, a prominent leader and medicine man of the Apache who became a celebrity in old age.
Edward.S.Curtis/Swann Galleries
The Native people's art was also captured by the photographer
The Native people’s art was also captured by the photographer
Edward.S.Curtis/Swann Galleries
This image shows the inside of a tent inhabited by members of the Blackfoot confederacey
This image shows the inside of a tent inhabited by members of the Blackfoot confederacy
Edward.S.Curtis/Swann Galleries



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