True West’s Best Art & Collectibles of 2014

Edward Sheriff Curtis _Maid of DreamsFate hitched Edward S. Curtis to George Bird Grinnell at one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, Mount Rainier. The photographer met the American Indian anthropologist in 1898, the same year Curtis had received a gold medal in photography.

An impressed Grinnell lassoed Curtis as the photographer for a 1900 expedition to document Montana’s Blackfoot Indians. Afterwards, Curtis’s Blackfoot photos attracted the attention of financier J.P. Morgan, who, in 1906, gave Curtis $75,000 to produce a series on the North American Indian. Roughly 20 years later, Curtis had captured at least 80 tribes in more than 40,000 photographs to select for his monumental 20-volume series, The North American Indian. Curtis did “what no other man ever has done; what…no other man could do,” President Theodore Roosevelt praised. Although Curtis’s work has been criticized for portraying a “vanishing race” of tribes who still live among us, the heritage auction arena has put his photographs on top. As collectors know all too well, the “vanishing race” most evident in historical American Indian photography is the missed opportunity to bid on these rare gems before the hammer falls. —Meghan Saar

***BEST OF THE WEST 2015***

BEST WESTERN ART COLLECTION

Editor’s Choice: Stark Museum of Art, Orange, TX

Reader’s Choice: The Autry in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA

BEST AMERICAN INDIAN COLLECTION

Editor’s Choice: Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, WY

Reader’s Choice: Smoki Museum, Prescott AZ

BEST PIONEER HISTORY COLLECTION

Editor’s Choice: Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, TX

Reader’s Choice: Pioneer Village, Minden, NE

BEST OLD WEST COLLECTIBLES AUCTION

Editor’s Choice: Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction, Denver, CO

Reader’s Choice: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, TX

BEST WESTERN PAINTER

Editor’s Choice: Howard Terpning

Reader’s Choice: C.M. Russell

BEST WESTERN ART GALLERY

Editor’s Choice: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK

Reader’s Choice: Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX

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