2011 ARTHUR M. BERGER LECTURE
MICHELLE ANNE DELANEY
Director of the Consortium for Understanding the American Experience,The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Warriors:
Photographs by Gertrude Käsebier
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
West Room, Reid Hall
In 1898, New York photographer Gertrude Käsebier embarked on a deeply personal project, creating a set of prints that rank among the most compelling of her celebrated body of work. Käsebier was on the threshold of a career that would establish her as both the leading portraitist of her time and an extraordinary art photographer. Her new undertaking was inspired by viewing the grand parade of Buffalo Bill's Wild West troupe en route to Madison Square Garden. Within a matter of weeks, Käsebier began a unique and special project photographing the Sioux Indians traveling with the show.
More than one hundred of these platinum photographs, printed photogravures and related pictograph drawings by these Sioux men are in the Photographic History Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The exhibition "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Warriors: Photographs by Gertrude Käsebier," jointly sponsored by the National Museum of American History and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, was on view this spring at the Smithsonian's International Gallery, in Washington, DC, following its premiere in 2010 at the Bunker Sands Gallery of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, WY. Delaney's companion book, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Warriors: A Photographic History by Gertrude Käsebier was published in 2007 by Smithsonian/Harper Collins.
Michelle Delaney, a 1987 graduate of Manhattanville College with a B.A. in American Studies, is former curator of photography in the Photographic History Collection, National Museum of American History, where she worked since 1989. Her research interests focus on the invention of American photography (1840-60), experiments in early color photography, the history of art photography, the photography of motion, and contemporary photojournalism. Curator of 19 Smithsonian exhibitions, Delaney and her co-editors received a 2009 Smithsonian Secretary's Research Prize for the exhibition catalog The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise. She holds a master's degree in American Studies with a specialty in Material Culture from the George Washington University. In October 2011, Delaney will begin a History PhD program with the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, specializing in Western American Studies, and researching "Advance Work: Art and Advertising in Buffalo Bill's Wild West."Berger Lecture