Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)

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Edward S. Curtis - Unpublished Northern Plains Group border=
Unpublished Northern Plains Group
7 x 13 1/2 inches
Vintage Platinum Print
Unpublished Northern Plains Group (Possibly Piegan)
Rare horizontal/panoramic image.
Signed: L.R. in crayon

Platinum Prints

Platinum printing may be the most beautiful and exacting of all photographic printing processes. Although an exceptionally demanding and expensive medium, Curtis printed a small body of his best images in platinum. Platinum prints are Curtis’ most highly realized photographs, exhibiting miraculous tonal subtlety and resolution.

In platinum printing, platinum-based photographic emulsion saturates the paper fibers—in other processes the emulsion is suspended above them. The image thus forms within the paper, itself, resulting in a delicacy and depth that is a hallmark of Curtis’ platinum prints.

Curtis’ platinum prints were often printed on heavily-textured watercolor paper, blind stamped with a copyright credit, and signed. Due to platinum’s noble nature, these prints have aged with remarkable stability and developed superb patinas.

Today, master exhibition photographs comprise substantially less than one percent of Curtis’ extant work. These seminal pieces embody the impetus of the project and the genius of the artist himself. These rare, haunting photographs are unparalleled as permanent documents of Native American life. In all respects they are the masterpieces of Curtis’ lifetime.
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