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Exhibition Proposal

An Oasis in the Badlands, 1905 Photogravure


One Hundred Masterworks

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


Concept 3 Curtis Biography


Sacred Legacy


Dates and Details of Tour


Length of Exhibition


Operational Costs


Catalogue 7 Contents 7 Previous Exhibition History


Organizational Body


Curatorial Policy


Curator 9 Selected Images

Foundation for the

Todd Brandow, Executive Director

Exhibition of Photography

5028 Washburn Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55410


Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


Concept “One Hundred Masterworks”, an extraordinary selection of vintage photographs by Edward S. Curtis, highlights both iconic and previously little known images, the majority printed in Curtis’ most compelling and rare processes. The prints are among the finest examples that exist and, in some cases, are the only known example of a particular image. Every style, subject matter, cultural/geographic area, and medium Curtis worked in is included. Many of the prints have an important provenance; some were in Edward Curtis’ personal collection, many have important exhibition and publication histories, and all are drawn from the world’s pre-eminent collection of Curtis’ work, built over a forty-year period by the world’s foremost Curtis collector and scholar, Christopher Cardozo. The collection from which this exhibition is drawn comprises over 3,000 vintage Curtis photographs and related objects. The exhibition showcases prints created in seven different photographic print mediums and are complemented by objects and other ephemera that will both contextualize and enrich the A Navaho Child, 1903 Platinum print

masterworks. The different print mediums include photogravure, platinum, goldtone, toned and un-toned gelatin silver, cyanotype, and gold-toned printing-out paper prints. Approximately 98% of the prints that Curtis created (and that survive) were made in the photogravure process. Nearly all-previous exhibitions of Curtis’ vintage photographs comprised only the photogravure prints. This exhibition not only includes photogravures, but the majority of the photographs are printed in the rarer, seldom seen, mediums. Aesthetically the prints are of a consistently high level, heretofore unseen in vintage Curtis exhibitions.

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


“I like a man who attempts the impossible” —J.P. Morgan

Curtis Biography Edward Curtis was born in 1868 and grew up in abject poverty in rural Minnesota. He built his first camera at age twelve, thus unwittingly embarking on his lifelong photographic career. In 1887, Curtis moved to the Pacific Northwest where he quickly positioned himself as Seattle’s foremost studio photographer. This success gave him the freedom to pursue his love of the great outdoors and this activity brought him into contact with small groups of Native Americans who were still living somewhat traditional lives. By 1900 these experiences had led Curtis to embark upon an undertaking that would consume him for the next thirty years. This project was the creation of his magnum opus, “The North  American Indian”, a twenty-volume, twenty-portfolio set of handmade books. Each set contains over 2,200 original photographs, plus extensive text, and transcriptions of language and music. It is difficult to overestimate the enormity of Curtis’ task and achievement. The project involved over one hundred artisans, translators, sales staff, logistical support, field assistants, accountants, etc. It is estimated that 10,000 Native Americans also participated in the realization of this thirty-year endeavor. In today’s dollars it was an approximately $35,000,000 publishing project, unparalleled in American publishing history. While “The North American Indian” is an inestimable contribution to the world of art, photography, ethnography, and fine bookmaking, the project nearly killed Curtis. He lost his family, his money, and his health and by 1930 he was a broken man. While he lived out the rest of his life in obscurity, he left us with a sacred legacy that surely will endure for many, many years to come.

Edward S. Curtis Self Portrait, 1899 Photogravure

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis

Sacred Legacy


Kotsuis and hohhug - Nakoaktok, 1914 Photogravure

This exhibition also honors and celebrates Native peoples:

work stands as a landmark in the history of photography, book

their lives, their history and their culture. Over one hundred

publishing, ethnography, and the American West. Viewed in

years ago, Curtis set out on a monumental quest to make an

its entirety, Curtis’ work presents an aesthetic, cultural, and

unprecedented, comprehensive record of the North American

historical record of enormous importance.

Indian. He produced 40,000-50,000 photographs of Native peoples. Curtis’ mission was to safeguard and preserve their

Another important legacy of Curtis’ monumental accomplishment

‘sacred legacy’ for future generations by creating a permanent

is the expression of an extraordinary and deeply felt empathy and

record of their lives in photographs, film, sound, and text. This was

understanding of the personal, emotional, and spiritual lives of

a highly collaborative process in which the Native people were

the American Indian. The work’s core message is one of beauty,

active participants and co-creators. They shared their religion,

heart and spirit. In these respects, this collaborative body of work

mythology, personal histories in ways that were unprecedented.

is unique and unparalleled. It is a deeply human story which has

Curtis was a witness, messenger, and co-creator. Today this

touched people around the globe for over a century.

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


Kwakiutl House Frame, 1914 Photogravure

Dates and Details of Tour

Length of Exhibition

The tour will begin in the United States in 2015 and continue

Ten weeks (may be extended depending upon scheduling

to travel through 2017. The exhibition will be limited to four

requirements of the participating museums and the overall tour).

venues in the Americas, three in Asia and one in Europe.

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


Operational Costs Participation fee is US$40,000, plus a prorata share of transportation and insurance costs. Travel expenses and a modest per diem will be expected for the curator and director of the project to attend the opening and assist with installation.

Catalogue A comprehensive, high-quality, hardbound catalogue will be created by Delmonico Books/Prestel Verlag to accompany the exhibition. The catalogue will include state-of-the-art reproductions of all images in the exhibition as well as complementary images of Curtis photographs, ephemera, and related objects. The catalogue will also include essays by four noted writers. Production values will be of the highest order.

Contents The exhibition comprises 100 custom oak and cherry Bear’s Belly - Arikara, 1908 Photogravure

framed vintage Curtis photographs plus numerous objects and ephemera all drawn from the Christopher G. Cardozo/ Edward Curtis Collection.

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


Previous Exhibition History Edward Curtis is one of the most broadly exhibited, collected, and published photographers in the history of the medium. His work is found in major public collections including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art and in innumerable private collections internationally. Significant exhibitions of Curtis’ work have been shown every decade since The Morgan Library and Museum exhibition in 1972. Curtis’ photographs have been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the de Young Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Musee de l’Elysee, among others. There have been over thirty monographs on Curtis’ work over the past thirty-five years. Virtually all past exhibitions of Curtis’ vintage work have been drawn from his photogravure oeuvre. “One Hundred Masterworks” will be unique in that the majority of the prints will be non-photogravures and will include every medium in which Curtis is known to have worked. Given the extraordinary international response to Curtis’ work, “One Hundred Masterworks” promises to be an extremely popular and critically acclaimed exhibition. A Walpi Man, 1900 Platinum print

Organizational Body This exhibition will be produced and toured under the auspices of the American non-profit organization, the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography (FEP), Minneapolis/Paris/Lausanne.

Curatorial Policy In addition to the FEP Curators, the Foundation engages distinguished outside curators and historians for its projects. Among past and current contributors are: Tobia Bezzola (current director of the Folkwang Museum), Carol Squiers (International Center of Photography), Joan Simon (Curator-at-large at the Whitney Museum), Patterson Sims (former deputy director of MoMA), Barbara Hitchcock (former curator of the Polaroid Collection) and A.D. Coleman (independent critic/author).

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


Kutenai Duck Hunter, 1910 Photogravure

Director of the project


Todd Brandow is the founding Executive Director of the Foundation

Christopher Cardozo is widely acknowledged as the world’s

for the Exhibition of Photography, celebrating its tenth anniversary in

leading authority on the great photographer, Edward S. Curtis.

2013. He has been based in Paris since 1997, working during that

Cardozo began collecting Curtis’ artwork forty years ago. He

time as a photography curator, foundation director and book publisher.

first discovered the work of Edward Curtis in 1973 after a friend

He co-produced and co-curated the above-mentioned Edward S.

saw Cardozo’s own sepia-toned photographs of Native people.

Curtis exhibition tours. He co-curated a retrospective tour of Finnish

Cardozo had just spent six months living in a very isolated tribal

photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen with critic A. D. Coleman and co-

village where he made over 10,000 negatives, created film footage,

curated with William Ewing and Nathalie Herschdorfer three exhibitions

and made sound recordings of language and music. Today he

on Edward Steichen. Projects recently produced include the first major

is both owner and curator of the Christopher Cardozo/Edward

thematic show independently curated from the Condé Nast Archive,

S. Curtis Collection, the worlds’ largest and most broad-ranging

“Coming into Fashion”; an Arnold Newman retrospective, co-produced

collection of the photographer’s work. Cardozo is the author of

with the Harry Ransom Center; and a Lorna Simpson exhibition co-

eight monographs on Edward Curtis. He has curated one-person

produced with the Jeu de Paume. Projects in development include a

Curtis exhibitions that have been seen in nearly one hundred

major survey on Polaroid with the MIT Museum and a contemporary

venues in over forty countries across six continents.

photography exhibition on adolescence.

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis

Selected Images

Geronimo - Apache, 1905 Platinum print


Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


Puget Sound Baskets, 1912 Photogravure

Original Curtis Picture Musicale Poster Vintage Curtis Studio Sticker

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


Shot in the Hand - Apsaroke, 1908 Photogravure

Hashogan-Navaho, 1904 Platinum print

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


Tapa “Antelope Water�-Taos, 1903 Platinum print

Housetop Life, 1906 Platinum print

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis

Waiting in the Forest - Cheyenne, 1910 Photogravure


Untitled (Moki Girl and Jar) Platinum print

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


Original Subscription Agreement, CGC 1614

Original Edward Curtis Lecture Poster, Musicale Poster LecturePoster

Original Curtis & Guptill Cabinet Card, C.1893

Volume I – The North American Indian, 1907, Volume I – Spine Harriman Volumes

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


Woman and Child - Nunivak, 1930 Photogravure

The Medicine Man - HastobĂŽga, 1904 Photogravure

Qahatika Girl, 1907 Photogravure

Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography EdwardS.Curtis


“It’s such a big dream, I can’t see it all” —Edward S. Curtis

Cañon de Chelly - Navaho, 1904 Photogravure

Foundation for the

Todd Brandow, Executive Director

Exhibition of Photography

5028 Washburn Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55410

One Hundred Masterworks  

A proposal brochure for the One Hundred Masterworks Collection.

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