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Swann Galleries to offer a complete set of Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian
Edward S. Curtis’s The North American Indian. Estimate: $1.25 to $1.75 million.
NEW YORK, NY.- On October 4, Swann will offer a complete set of Edward S. Curtis’s The North American Indian in their auction of Fine Photographs & Photobooks. The lot has a pre-sale estimate of $1.25 to $1.75 million.

Consigned by well known bookman John King, this set (number 113/500), appears to be the only complete version containing a treasure trove of photogravures with Curtis’s signature. This rare and unique suite includes 722 large-format photogravures on Japan tissue, with 111 signed plates – all of the images in Folios I, IV and V. The accompanying 20 text volumes contain an additional 1,505 photogravures, 4 maps and 2 diagrams, and were produced by Lauriat from Curtis’ original copper plates.

Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) was a 20-century American artist and photographer known for his images of Native-American tribes west of the Mississippi. Complete with 20 folios and 20 text volumes, The North American Indian is one of the most stunning and ambitious photographically-illustrated books ever produced.

Documenting the “vanishing race” of Native Americans, Curtis anticipated the project would take 15 years to complete. This legendary project was initially endorsed by President Theodore Roosevelt, who introduced Curtis to his first patron J.P. Morgan, the legendary bibliophile and financier. Morgan directed Curtis to make “the handsomest ever produced." He advanced Curtis $75,000 for five years, after which his son invested an additional $300,000 to facilitate its production.

Detroit native John King has been a book seller for more than four decades. “This set, which contains splendid rare photographic folio plates, many with Curtis’ signature and accompanying handsome text volumes, parallels the importance of the original Audobon,” King said, “and deserves to be shared with collectors who can appreciate its scarcity, artistry and the recording of a great peoples.”

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