OROTONES: THE GOLDEN MESSENGERS

Copyright © 2011 CHRISTY R. HANSEN. All rights reserved.

Orotone Gallery Edward S. Curtis

Indians

"Jicarilla Chief (Vash Gon Jicarilla),"

c. 1917/18-1921. Seattle & L.A. Studios.

Orotone in reproduction frame, 5" x 10."

"The Medicine Man-Sioux,"

c. 1917/18-1921. Seattle Studio only.

Orotone in original pie crust frame, 11" x 14."

Courtesy of Treadway Gallery, 2008.

"Decorating Pottery-Hopi (The Potter, Nampeyo),"

c. 1917/18-1921. Seattle Studio only.

Orotone in original pie crust frame., 11" x 14."

Courtesy of Treadway Gallery, 2008.

"Before the Storm-Apache (The Storm),"

c. 1917/18-1930s. Seattle & L.A. Studios.

Orotone in original pie frame, 11" x 14." Courtesy of Cowan's Auctions, Inc.., 2009.

"Out of the Darkness,"

c. 1917/18-1930s. Seattle & L.A. Studios.

Orotone in original studio frame, 11" x 14." Courtesy of Treadway Gallery, .2008

"Prayer to the Great Mystery-Sioux,"

c. 1917/18-1930s. Seattle Studio only.

Orotone in original pie crust frame, 11" x 14." Courtesy of Valley Fine Art.

Edward S. Curtis' legacy is greatly dependent on his large-scale production of Native American-themed orotones.. Of the forty-nine known orotones produced for mass consumption (number excludes personal commissioned portraits) by Edward Curtis, forty-two were of different Native American images (most of which originally appeared as photogravures in his The North American Indian). Curtis' production of Native American themed orotones far outweighed any other Pacific Northwest orotone photographers' depiction of Native Americans.

Curtis began production of his Native American orotones around 1917/1918 in his Seattle studio at 4th & University. He continued production upon his move to L.A. for many of his images, between circa 1921-early 1930s.

NOTE: Orotones that were presented in Curtis's c. 1917/18 studio catalogue include the 1917/18 title. Modern titles, if different, appear in parentheses.

NOTE: The circa dates provided are for orotone production of each image, not by the year the negative was captured (as is common by auction houses).

[1] While the sales catalogue itself bears no creation date, the printed notation of the Curtis Studio’s location at “Fourth Avenue at University Street” on the back cover of the catalogue indicates a date no earlier than1917, as this was the first year Curtis’ studio was listed in Seattle city directories at its new location at 4th Ave. and University St. The end circa date of 1918 was attributed due to the catalogue’s announcement of Curtis’ orotone (‘Curt-tone’) process as being new, and that Curtis’ orotones were already widely received by the time of their first public exhibition in February of 1919 at the Alexandria Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

Portraiture
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