American Indian Dwellings

This selection from Edward S. Curtis's 1920's photographs of the North American Indian reflects Curtis's appreciation for the variety of dwellings designed by the Indians as well as his affection for a complex culture that was being inexorably destroyed. The Curtis collection is one of the largest photographic archives ever produced by a single artist and probably the most profound representation of pure Indian culture ever compiled.

Curtis's completed publication, The North American Indian, consists of 20 volumes of text with 1,500 small plates, plus 20 portfolios of 36 unbound gravure plates, comprising a total of approximately 2,500 images.

The photographs included in this show capture the beauty, both simple and ornate, of the dwellings of the North American Indians. Remarkable in this exhibition is "The Siam Street Scene," depicting the pueblo that was rebuilt after Ancient Siam was destroyed in the revolt of 1680. Also noteworthy are "Piquet Watchtower," showing the oldest of the ten villages, subsidiary to Laguna, and "North Pueblo at Taos," which portrays the pueblo surrounded by a protective wall, the remains of which are still standing.

The complex skill needed to build such edifices and the dedication to harmony with nature are readily apparent from these excellent photos in which Curtis captures the spirit of a dying culture.