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A North American Indian Boy

Edward S. Curtis, American, 1868 - 1952

Photograph taken in United States, North and Central America


Platinum print

Image and sheet: 8 1/16 × 5 15/16 inches (20.4 × 15.1 cm) Mount (primary): 8 7/16 × 6 3/16 inches (21.5 × 15.7 cm) Mount (secondary): 12 3/8 × 10 inches (31.4 × 25.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Theodore T. Newbold, 1975

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In the late 1890s, Curtis began photographing members of Native American nations, documenting the traditional ways of life that were disappearing due to the American government's efforts to segregate or assimilate their populations. Native Americans were a favored subject of Pictorialist photographers, many of whom romanticized and depoliticized their plight. Between 1907 and 1930, Curtis published The North American Indian, a twenty-volume book set containing more than 2,000 photographs featuring eighty tribes. This work, like that of the Pictorialists, has been interpreted as both groundbreaking and controversial. This photograph of a youth is typical of Curtis's portrait style, emphasizing his sitter's intense expression and including details of traditional dress.