Chief Joseph – Nez Percé by Edward Curtis

This photogravure gold tone by Edward Curtis (1868-1952) entitled Chief Joseph – Nez Percé had become unhinged and had not been placed behind UV-filtering glass.

Once we opened the artwork up we discovered that the hinging was double-layered, probably meaning that it was done twice with the second layer simply laid on top. These layers were removed and replaced with an archival hinge with a new 8-ply mat and a shadow space mount so the photogravure appears to flat. Prior to hinging it, it was dampened on the reverse and then blotted dry and flat, to remove a buckle that was in the paper. New museum glass was added at the end, which is an exceptional quality of glass as it is antireflective and as you can see in the last photograph below it appears not to be there.

Born in 1868 near Whitewater, Wisconsin, Edward Sheriff Curtis was to become one of America’s premier photographers and ethnologists. When the Curtis family moved to Port Orchard, Washington in 1887, Edward’s gift for photography led him to an investigation of the Indians living on the Seattle waterfront. His photograph Homeward won Curtis the highest award in a photographic exhibition contest. Having become well-known for his work with the Indians, Curtis participated in the 1899 Harriman expedition to Alaska as the lead photographer. He then accompanied George Bird Grinell, editor of Forest and Stream, on a trip to northern Montana. There they witnessed the deeply sacred Sundance of the Piegan and Blackfoot tribes. Traveling on horseback, with their pack horses trailing behind, they stopped at the precipice. Below them, the view of the valley floor stretched with over a thousand teepees – an awesome sight to Curtis. This event would transformed his life and inspired him to create The North American Indian. Consisting of over 700 large portfolio images, over 1500 volume size images, and over 7000 pages of text, The North American Indian is a part of American history in both its imagery and its creation

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