Light and Legacy: The Art and Techniques of Edward S. Curtis will offer museum guests an opportunity to view one of the largest collections of Curtis material with a breadth and depth rarely presented in a single exhibition. On display will be a set of The North American Indian, a lavish, richly illustrated publication devoted to the more than 80 different Native American Peoples Curtis visited, often on numerous occasions. Photogravures, original copper plates from which the photogravures were printed, and gold tones—a process Curtis perfected—also known as orotones, or Curt-tones will be on display as will original photographs, including platinum prints, silver bromides, silver gelatins, cyanotypes, and glass plate negatives. Visitors will hear recordings of Indigenous music and languages that were recorded by Curtis and his field team. A section of the exhibition will concentrate on the artist’s contributions to the science of photography, including bottles of the types of chemicals he employed, descriptions of the various methods of making prints, and a camera of the vintage and type he favored.
Drawn predominantly from The Peterson Family Collection, Light and Legacy: The Art and Techniques of Edward S. Curtis is co-curated by noted collector and Museum Trustee Tim Peterson with Tricia Loscher, Assistant Director for Collections, Exhibitions and Research at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Light and Legacy: The Art and Techniques of Edward S. Curtis will be featured in the Halle Foundation Great Hall and the Pulliam Fine Arts Gallery of Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. This monumental exhibition is made possible with generous sponsorship from The Peterson Family; The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust: Charles F., Jennifer E., and John U. Sands; Theodore “Ted” Stephan; Scottsdale Art Auction; True West Magazine: Ken Amorosano & Bob Boze Bell; and the City of Scottsdale and its Tourism Development Commission.