Edward S. Curtis

One Hundred Masterworks

Exhibition Website

Feb 20 2016 - May 29 2016

Palm Springs Art Museum

Palm Springs, CA

Beginning in 1900, Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) set out on a monumental quest to create an unprecedented, comprehensive record of the Indians of North American. The culmination of his 30-year project led to his magnum opus, The North American Indian, a twenty-volume, twenty-portfolio set of handmade books containing a selection of over 2,200 original photographs. Today this work stands as a landmark in the history of photography, book publishing, ethnography, and the history of the American West, producing an art historical record of enormous and irreplaceable importance.

One Hundred Masterworks presents an extraordinary selection of vintage photographs by Curtis that highlights both iconic and previously little known images, revealing the aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual qualities, which are the cornerstone of his art. It showcases seven different photographic print mediums including photogravure, platinum, goldtone (orotone), toned and un-toned gelatin silver, cyanotype, and gold-toned printing-out paper prints. Arranged thematically, the exhibition includes a selection of Curtis’ most compelling and rare photographs that look beyond the documentary nature of his work focusing on his aesthetic and technical contributions to the art of photography.

Exhibition overview from the museum website

Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog Edward S. Curtis: One Hundred Masterworks showcases Edward Curtis's most compelling and important works. This beautiful publication highlights both iconic and rarely seen images, demonstrating his artistry and mastery of photographic mediums, and his commitment to documenting and preserving for posterity the Native Americans' traditions and ways of life. The stunning photographs are further enriched and contextualized by essays from world-recognized experts.

  • Photography
  • American
  • 19th Century
  • Indigenous
  • Edward S. Curtis

Exhibition Venues & Dates