Edward S. Curtis (American, 1868-1952),
Canon de Chelly—Navaho, (Plate 28), Portfolio 1, Apache, Jicarillas, Navaho, from The North American Indian
sepia photogravure, 8 x 22 in.; 45.72 x 55.88 cm
Given by Mrs. Esther Johnsen on behalf of the Johnsen family in memory of her husband Johnny A. John, 1990.9.B.28
It took Curtis over thirty years to complete his monumental essay in photo-anthropology, The North American Indian. Published in twenty volumes accompanied by twenty portfolios of magnificent photogravure prints, the study touched on virtually every major Western tribe. His beautiful images continue to represent ideal Indian life for many viewers. Curtis was sincere in his desire to capture images and information about what he believed to be a “vanishing race,” but his view was romantically biased. Focused entirely on the past, he could see no future for the peoples and cultures he so admired.