Lot 160

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The North American Indian - Volumes I-XX, 1907-1930
Complete volumes, on India proof paper ('tissue') etching stockBook Date: 1907-193012 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (31.75 x 24.13 cm.)
Curtis, Edward S. (1868 - 1952), The North American Indian being a Series of Volumes Picturing and Describing the Indians of the United States and Alaska. Edited by Fredrick Webb Hodge. Foreward by Theodore Roosevelt. Field Research conducted under the patronage of J. Pierpont Morgan. [Cambridge, Mass.], 1907-1930.

Quarto-sized (313 x 239 mm): In publisher's optional blue half morocco leather, gilt and buckrum, top edge gilding. Each volume individually housed in a custom, hand-made slipcase. Each numbered 146 on verso of the half-title page.

1,511 hand-gravure printed illustrations, comprising 1,505 photogravures, including 35 hand-colored plates, 4 maps and 2 diagrams. Over three thousand pages of text and transcriptions of language and music. Hand letterpress printed on hand-made paper. Hand-bound.

number 146 of 500 proposed Sets (of which only 214 were originally subscribed to, and only 272 sets ultimately produced), this copy on India Proof Paper ("tissue") tipped-in on Dutch Van Gelder. The exact number of original subscriber Sets printed on tissue is not known, but it is estimated to be fewer than 15. Edward Curtis, J.P. Morgan, E.H. Harriman and the King of England were among the few who received this premium version. This is a beautifully preserved Set of the original Volumes and in the very highest tier in terms of the print quality and condition.

The North American Indian, Inc.Original Subscriber-H. Shoe Company, Everett, MA 1945Private Collection(s)The Christopher G. Cardozo Collection 2016

REFERENCES: Howes C-965; Roosens & Salu 2702; Truthful Lens 40.

  • The original volumes and contemporary, custom slipcases are in excellent condition overall. The bindings are very strong and intact. The top-edge gilding is very nice, with very minor, scattered scuffs and nicks. Internally, the volumes pages are clean and bright. The photogravures are rich and saturated, with fine highlights and details.
    With the exception of Volume XX, there are very light to moderate interleave transfer marks in the margins of most pages with images. This does not affect the photogravures at all, and is confined to the margins. In Volumes XIII-XIX, there is minor adhesive discoloration at the print corners of most pages with a photogravure. The interleave transfer marks, and adhesive discoloration are very typical of TNAI volumes with the Japanese gampi ‘tissue' etching stock. In Volume XIX, the photogravures on facing page 144, "An Arapaho" and 152, "Seeing High-Otto", are printed on Holland Van Gelder, instead of Japanese gampi etching stock, and are not hand-colored. There are scattered pages throughout the set with minor foxing. There are some minor, scattered spots of buckram delamination on the covers.
    Overall, this complete set of volumes is a compelling example, in both condition and presentation, of Curtis' magnum opus.

    The condition reports for the lots offered by Santa Fe Art Auction (SFAA) are provided as a courtesy and convenience for potential buyers. The reports are not intended to nor do they substitute for physical examination by a buyer or the buyer's advisors. The condition reports are prepared by SFAA staff members who are not art conservators or restorers, nor do they possess the qualifications needed for comprehensive evaluation. Each condition report is an opinion of the staff member and should not be treated as a statement of fact. The absence of a condition report does not imply anything as to the condition of a particular lot. Buyers are reminded that the limited warranties are set forth in the Terms and Conditions of Sale and do not extend to condition. Each lot is sold as-is.

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