Lot Details

Artist: Edward S. Curtis
Title: Canyon de Chelly - Navaho
Negative Date: 1904
Print Date: c.1904
Medium: Gelatin Silver photograph
Markings: Signed in ink at lower right.
Print Size: 8" x 9.88"(20.3cm x 25cm)

The gallery retail for this photograph is: $16,500
Auction Estimate: $12,000 - $15,000

Canyon de Chelly (pronounced “de chay”, after the Navaho “Ta Shé”) to this day is one of the most sacred places for the Navaho peoples. It is located in Northeastern Arizona in the heart of Navaho country. Of Curtis’ 50,000 negatives this is widely considered to be his single most important and powerful landscape. The insignificance of man relative to nature is clearly illustrated through the sheer size (approximately 1,000 feet high) of enduring cliff formations that surround the riders. “Canyon de Chelly” was clearly one of Curtis’ favorite and most iconic images as he printed it in at least four different photographic processes. This print is a rare example. Curtis created the duo-tone border in the darkroom to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the image. It is estimated that fewer than 1 in 500 vintage Curtis prints were done in this time-consuming presentation, adding to its desirability for sophisticated collectors. The print itself is a beautiful, compelling object and it is one of only three Canyon de Chelly border prints that Christopher Cardozo has seen in his 38 years of collecting.

This vintage gelatin silver print is in excellent overall condition.
Very minor surface scuffing in left portion of image, and a very small water residue mark (0.06" x 0.06") in left area of image, both visible only in direct reflected light; two minor areas of surface burnishing at the left border, not effecting print; historic graphite marking at extreme print margins; scattered, minor areas of historic re-touching; minor areas of surface loss at outer margins of the reverse side of the print, not effecting the reverse side of the print or image. There are minor adhesive remnants on the reverse side of the print, not effecting image/recto. None of the above detailed imperfections effect the overall print. Print quality is excellent.

Edward Curtis is the most widely collected fine art photography in the history of the medium, and his work is found in major public and private collections internationally. He has also become the most widely exhibited. His work has moved viewers on every continent but Antarctica. He created an unprecedented body of work, which has won awards and accolades internationally. While the project nearly drove him into bankruptcy and cost him his health and family, today the aggregate value of the photographs he created exceeds one half of a billion dollars. Please see biography link above for further details.

Read more
Publication: The North American Indian (Portfolio I Plate 28) Sacred Legacy: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, P.189 Native Nations, P.30
The seller has recorded the following condition for this lot:
Inpainting, Instaining
Area: Image
Location: Other location
Notes: Please see “Seller’s Description” section for condition notes.
Degree: Minor

Definition Key
Image The central image area, composition, or focal point; the area inside the margins/plate marks.
Margin Areas bordering the central image, outside the plate marks, or the perimeter area.
Edge The farthest edge of the object.
Verso The reverse/back of the object.

Minor An existing condition which generally does not involve risk of loss.
Moderate Noticeable damage, increasing in severity and/or size; should be monitored or corrected by a conservator.
Major Distinct, recognizable damage; the stability of the work is questionable and risk is a factor. Requires the attention of a conservator.
Extreme Advanced and severe damage; work is insecure and at great risk.

  • Christopher Cardozo (“The Christopher G. Cardozo/Edward S. Curtis Collection”)
Another print of this image was included in a major groundbreaking, one person Curtis exhibition that toured Paris, Cologne, Switzerland, Italy, and the Netherlands between 2000 and 2004.

Another print of this image was included in a major Curtis exhibition that toured Spain, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden between 2001 and 2007.

Other prints of this image have been exhibited internationally in one person Curtis exhibitions. These exhibitions have traveled to over forty countries and every continent but Antarctica during the past decade.
  • Pickup Location: Minnesota, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 8 x 9.88 in. (20.32 x 25.1 cm.)
Accepted: Wire Transfer
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