Photogravure by Edward Curtis, Fat Horse

Photogravure by Edward Curtis, Fat Horse


Item: Photogravure, “Fat Horse, with Insignia of a Blackfoot Soldier” (1926). Includes Certificate of Authenticity from the Edward S. Curtis Gallery in McCloud, California.
Artist: Edward S. Curtis (1868 – 1952)
Size: 5.5″ x 7.5,” printed on Holland Van Gelder paper. Matted, 11″ x 14″.
Courtesy of Suzi Moore McGregor.

Struck from an inked copper engraved plate, this authentic photogravure was produced from a negative taken by Curtis as part of his landmark series, The North American Indian. Beginning in 1900 and continuing over the next thirty years, Curtis took over 40,000 images and recorded rare ethnographic information from over 80 American Indian tribal groups, ranging from the Eskimo or Inuit people of the far north to the Hopi people of the Southwest. He captured the likeness of many important and well-known Indian people of that time, including Geronimo, Chief Joseph, Red Cloud, Medicine Crow and others. This monumental accomplishment is comprised of more than 2,200 sepia toned photogravures bound in twenty volumes of written information and small images and twenty portfolios of larger artistic representations.

The process of making photogravures was developed in the 1850s as a means to produce a photographic image from an engraving plate. Once a photograph is exposed, a glass transparency is made from the negative. A series of chemical transfers to a copper plate produces an etched copper plate of the original photographic image. Curtis selected just one twentieth of his graphic record to represent his artistic vision of North American tribes. The 500 sets planned were never completed. An estimated 272 sets were finished, many of which have been broken up, while an estimated 85 remain in institutional collections.

Learn More:

Edward S. Curtis Gallery

The Library of Congress Curtis Collection

PBS, Edward Curtis: Shadow Catcher