Sioux Indians photographed in Gertrude Kasebier's Studio

In 1898 New York photographer Gertrude Käsebier (1852-1934) 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 for several weeks of performances.
Käsebier had spent her childhood on the Great Plains, and retained many vivid, happy memories of playing with nearby Native American children. She quickly sent a letter to William "Buffalo Bill" Cody (1846-1917), requesting permission to photograph in her studio the Sioux Indians traveling with the show. Within a matter of weeks, Käsebier began a unique and special project, photographing the Indian men, women, and children, formally and informally. Friendships developed, and her photography of these Native Americans continued for more than a decade.
The natural light provided by the single window in Gertrude Käsebier's studio accents this group portrait of the Sioux Indians chiefs and men visiting in April 1898. Käsebier often used lighting effectively in portraits to highlight her subjects. She created dramatic effects and strong visual lines through her technical skills in developing and printing the images.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
ca 1898
Kasebier, Gertrude
Physical Description
platinum print (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 17.5 cm x 15.6 cm; 6 7/8 in x 6 1/8 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Gertrude Kasebier
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gertrude Kasebier
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Delaney, Michelle. Buffalo Bill's Wild West Warriors: A Photographic History by Gertrude Kasebier

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