Vintage Edward S. Curtis

The vintage body of photographic work by Edward S. Curtis consists of albumen prints, platinum prints, gelatin silver prints, blue toned silver prints, collodian silver prints, cyanotypes, glass lantern slides, orotones (known also Curt-tones and Goldtones), glass negatives, original photogravure prints, and the original copper photogravure plates from The North American Indian.

Vintage means that the print date is at or near the same time as the negative date. All of Edward Curtis’ original photographs are considered to be vintage.

The North American Indian appeared as 20 bound Volumes; incorporating 1503 small full-page photogravures, image size approximately 6 x 9 inches, which were printed on 9 x 12 sheets of three distinct papers, and 20 accompanying Portfolios comprising 723 large photogravures, image size approximately 11 x 14 inches, which were printed on 18 x 22 sheets of three distinct hand made papers. A very small number of vintage early state promotional materials and printer and artist photogravure proof prints exist on alternate papers. All Curtis original sets of The North American Indian appear only on one of three types of paper, Holland Van Gelder, Japan Vellum, or Japanese Tissue. If the image is not on one of the above papers, you are buying or own a contemporary print.

Curtis is most famous for his images of the American Indian but his work also includes that of the Harriman Alaskan Expedition and prints made from his own and Cecil B. DeMille movies.

Edward Curtis was a photographer and printer of stunning technical virtuosity who employed an unusually wide variety of photographic processes. He printed a small body of his earliest and finest negatives in platinum, albumen, and silver processes specifically for personal exhibitions and sale to elite patrons. In these Master Prints, Curtis’ technical virtuosity is hallmarked by tremendous subtlety, delicacy, and richness.