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.
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.
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.
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.
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