The 150th Anniversary of Edward Curtis: 150 Masterpieces from The North American Indian

Edward Sherriff Curtis
The North American Indian
Portfolio 8, Plate 256
Chief Joseph – Nez Perce
1909, Photogravure

The 150th Anniversary of Edward Curtis: 150 Masterpieces from The North American Indian

2018 marks the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Edward Curtis. Curtis is today know best for his masterpiece, The North American Indian, a monumental project comprised of 20 volumes of text and over 723 large portfolio prints that catalogued images and ethnography of the Native American tribes of the Western United States. The MMA featured the entire collection of The North American Indian over the summer of 2017 in an exhibition that was seen by over 30,000 visitors from every U.S. State and 28 other countries. The exhibition was a celebration of Curtis’s achievement and an examination of the dual nature of its legacy, of the preservation of knowledge and culture, and the harmful perpetuations of stereotypes and prejudices that continue to affect the social and political landscape in our country.

The 150th Anniversary of Edward Curtis: 150 Masterpieces from The North American Indian presents 150 photographs that represent the breadth of subjects touched on in the project. The exhibition also examines criticism of Curtis’s works, and uses the objects themselves to present the dilemmas inherent in understanding the project’s legacy. The show will also premiere newly acquired copper plates used to create the photogravures, and several of the volumes of The North American Indian.

Underwritten by Nichols, Fifth Third Bank, Northern Machine Tool,  the Verplank Donor Advised Fund of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, and Deborah Devoursney. Media sponsor is WGVU Public Media. Additional program support is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Arts.

          

 Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian Collection Information and Resources

Self Portrait by Edward S. Curtis, copyright 1889, printed 1907. Photogravure. Collection of the Muskegon Museum of Art. Hackley Picture Fund Purchase. 1983.5.